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FROM  THE 

SAGE  ENDOWMENT  FUND 

THE  GIFT  OF 

1891 


3 


CORNELL  UNIVERSITY  LIBRARY 


3  1924  064  976  966 


Cornell  University 
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THE 

COLLECTED  WORKS  OF  WILLIAM   HAZLITT 

IN   TWELVE  VOLUMES 


VOLUME    NINE 


All  rights  resert-ed 


THE  COLLECTED  WORKS  OF 

WILLIAM  HAZLITT 

EDITED    BY    A.    R.    WALLER 
AND    ARNOLD     GLOVER 

WITH    AN    INTRODUCTION    BY 

W.    E.    HENLEY 


The  Principal 
Picture-Galleries   in   England 
Notes  of  a  Journey  through  France  and  Italy- 
Miscellaneous  Essays  on  the  Fine  Arts 


1903 

LONDON:   J.  M.  DENT  &  CO. 
McCLURE,  PHILLIPS  &  CO.:  NEW  YORK 


»'*> 


Edinburgh  ;  T.  and  A.  Constable,  Printers  to  His  Majesty 


CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE  PRINCIPAL  PICTURE-GALLERIES  IN  ENGLAND  i 

NOTES    OF   A   JOURNEY   THROUGH   FRANCE   AND 

ITALY         ....  83 

MISCELLANEOUS  ESSAYS  ON  THE  FINE  ARTS  305 

NOTES    .  .  .  439 

APPENDIX  .489 


SKETCHES    OF    THE    PRINCIPAL 
PICTURE-GALLERIES   IN  ENGLAND 

WITH   A 

CRITICISM   ON  'MARRIAGE   A-LA-MODE' 


VOL.  IX.  :  A 


BIBLIOGRAPHICAL    NOTE 


Sketches  of  the  Principal  Piclure-Galleries  in  England,  fyith  a  Criticism  on  '  Marriage 
a-la-mode,'  appeared  in  a  small  8vo.  volume  (6^  in.  X  4  in.)  in  1824,  '  Printed  for 
Taylor  and  Hessey,  93,  Fleet-Street,  and  13,  Waterloo-Place,  Pall-Mall.'  The 
last  page  bears  advertisements  of  the  Characters  of  Shakspeare's  Plays,  Lectures  on 
the  English  Poets,  and  Lectures  on  the  English  Comic  Writers,  The  printer's  name, 
given  behind  the  half-title,  is  '  T.  Green,  76  Fleet-street.' 

Four  pages  of  Taylor  &  Hessey's  announcements  ('  Booksellers  to  H.R.H.  the 
Prince  Leopold  *)  are  bound  up  with  the  volume. 

The  present  text  is  that  of  the  1824  volume. 

The  Sketches  formed  part  of  the  two  volumes  of  '  Criticisms  on  Art,'  collected 
and  edited  by  his  son  in  1843-4,  and  of  the  one  volume  of  'Essays  on  the  Fine 
Arts,'  edited  by  Mr.  W.  C.  Hazlitt  in  1873. 


ADVERTISEMENT 

It  is  the  object  of  the  following  little  work  to  give  an  account  of 
the  principal  Picture-Galleries  in  this  country,  and  to  describe  the 
feelings  which  they  naturally  excite  in  the  mind  of  a  lover  of  art. 
Almost  all  those  of  any  importance  have  been  regularly  gone  through. 
One  or  two,  that  still  remain  unnoticed,  may  be  added  to  our  catalogue 
ralsonnee  at  a  future  opportunity.  It  may  not  be  improper  to  mention 
here  that  Mr.  Angerstein's  pictures  have  been  lately  purchased  for  the 
commencement  of  a  National  Gallery,  but  are  still  to  be  seen  in  their 
old  places  on  the  walls  of  his  house. 


CONTENTS 


Mr.  Angerstein's  Collection 

PAGE 
7 

Dulwich  Gallery   ..... 

17 

The  Marquis  of  Stafford's  Gallery 

27 

Pictures  at  Windsor  Castle 

36 

Pictures  at  Hampton  Court 

42 

Lord  Grosvenor's  Collection 

49 

Pictures  at  Wilton  and  Stourhead  . 

SS 

Pictures  at  Burleigh  House 

62 

Pictures  at  Oxford  and  Blenheim  . 

69 

Appendix 

Criticism  on  Marriage  a-la-Mode  . 

75 

PICTURE-GALLERIES   IN    ENGLAND 


MR.  ANGERSTEIN'S  COLLECTION 

Oh  !  Art,  lovely  Art !  '  Balm  of  hurt  minds,  chief  nourisher  in  life's 
feast,  great  Nature's  second  course  ! '  Time's  treasurer,  the  unsullied 
mirror  of  the  mind  of  man !  Thee  we  invoke,  and  not  in  vain,  for 
we  find  thee  here  retired  in  thy  plentitude  and  thy  power!  The 
walls  are  dark  with  beauty ;  they  frown  severest  grace.  The  eye 
is  not  caught  by  glitter  and  varnish  ;  we  see  the  pictures  by  their  own 
internal  light.  This  is  not  a  bazaar,  a  raree-show  of  art,  a  Noah's 
ark  of  all  the  Schools,  marching  out  in  endless  procession  ;  but  a 
sanctuary,  a  holy  of  holies,  collected  by  taste,  sacred  to  fame, 
enriched  by  the  rarest  products  of  genius.  For  the  number  of 
pictures,  Mr.  Angerstein's  is  the  finest  gallery,  perhaps,  in  the  world. 
We  feel  no  sense  of  littleness  :  the  attention  is  never  distracted  for 
a  moment,  but  concentrated  on  a  few  pictures  of  first-rate  excellence. 
Many  of  these  ctef-d'auvres  might  occupy  the  spectator  for  a  whole 
morning  ;  yet  they  do  not  interfere  with  the  pleasure  derived  from  each 
other — so  much  consistency  of  style  is  there  in  the  midst  of  variety ! 

We  know  of  no  greater  treat  than  to  be  admitted  freely  to  a 
Collection  of  this  sort,  where  the  mind  reposes  with  full  confidence 
in  its  feelings  of  admiration,  and  finds  that  idea  and  love  of  conceiv- 
able beauty,  which  it  has  cherished  perhaps  for  a  whole  life,  reflected 
from  every  object  around  it.  It  is  a  cure  (for  the  time  at  least)  for 
low-thoughted  cares  and  uneasy  passions.  We  are  abstracted  to 
another  sphere :  we  breathe  empyrean  air  ;  we  enter  into  the  minds 
of  Raphael,  of  Titian,  of  Poussin,  of  the  Caracci,  and  look  at  nature 
with  their  eyes ;  we  live  in  time  past,  and  seem  identified  with  the 
permanent  forms  of  things.  The  business  of  the  world  at  large,  and 
even  its  pleasures,  appear  like  a  vanity  and  an  impertinence.  What 
signify  the  hubbub,  the  shifting  scenery,  the  fantoccini  figures,  the 
folly,  the  idle  fashions  without,  when  compared  with  the  solitude, 
the  silence,  the  speaking  looks,  the  unfading  forms  within  ? — Here  is 
the  mind's  true  home.     The  contemplation  of  truth  and  beauty  is  the 

7 


PICTURE-GALLERIES   IN  ENGLAND 

proper  object  for  which  we  were  created,  which  calls  forth  the  most 
intense  desires  of  the  soul,  and  of  which  it  never  tires.  A  capital 
print-shop  (Molteno's  or  Colnaghi's)  is  a  point  to  aim  at  in  a 
morning's  walk — a  relief  and  satisfaction  in  the  motley  confusion, 
the  littleness,  the  vulgarity  of  common  life:  but  a  print-shop  has 
but  a  mean,  cold,  meagre,  petty  appearance  after  coming  out  of  a 
fine  Collection  of  Pictures.  We  want  the  size  of  life,  the  marble 
flesh,  the  rich  tones  of  nature,  the  diviner  expanded  expression. 
Good  prints  are  no  doubt,  better  than  bad  pictures;  or  prints, 
generally  speaking,  are  better  than  pictures ;  for  we  have  more 
prints  of  good  pictures  than  of  bad  ones :  yet  they  are  for  the  most 
part  but  hints,  loose  memorandums,  outlines  in  little  of  what  the 
painter  has  done.  How  often,  in  turning  over  a  number  of  choice 
engravings,  do  we  tantalise  ourselves  by  thinking  '  what  a  head  that 
must  be,' — in  wondering  what  colour  a  piece  of  drapery  is  of,  green 
or  black, — in  wishing,  in  vain,  to  know  the  exact  tone  of  the  sky 
in  a  particular  corner  of  the  picture  !  Throw  open  the  folding- 
doors  of  a  fine  Collection,  and  you  see  all  you  have  desired  realised 
at  a  blow — the  bright  originals  starting  up  in  their  own  proper  shape, 
clad  with  flesh  and  blood,  and  teeming  with  the  first  conceptions  of 
the  painter's  mind  !  The  disadvantage  of  pictures  is,  that  they  cannot 
be  multiplied  to  any  extent,  like  books  or  prints ;  but  this,  in  another 
point  of  view,  operates  probably  as  an  advantage,  by  making  the  sight 
of  a  fine  original  picture  an  event  so  much  the  more  memorable,  and 
the  impression  so  much  the  deeper.  A  visit  to  a  genuine  Collection 
is  like  going  a  pilgrimage — it  is  an  act  of  devotion  performed  at  the 
shrine  of  Art !  It  is  as  if  there  were  but  one  copy  of  a  book  in  the 
world,  locked  up  in  some  curious  casket,  which,  by  special  favour, 
we  had  been  permitted  to  open,  and  peruse  (as  we  must)  with 
unaccustomed  relish.  The  words  would  in  that  case  leave  stings 
in  the  mind  of  the  reader,  and  every  letter  appear  of  gold.  The 
ancients,  before  the  invention  of  printing,  were  nearly  in  the  same 
situation  with  respect  to  books,  that  we  are  with  regard  to  pictures ; 
and  at  the  revival  of  letters,  we  find  the  same  unmingled  satisfaction,  or 
fervid  enthusiasm,  manifested  in  the  pursuit  or  the  discovery  of  an  old 
manuscript,  that  connoisseurs  still  feel  in  the  purchase  and  possession 
of  an  antique  cameo,  or  a  fine  specimen  of  the  Italian  school  of  paint- 
ing. Literature  was  not  then  cheap  and  vulgar,  nor  was  there  what  is 
called  a  reading  public ;  and  the  pride  of  intellect,  like  the  pride  of  art, 
or  the  pride  of  birth,  was  confined  to  the  privileged  few ! 

We  sometimes,  in  viewing  a  celebrated  Collection,  meet  with  an 
old  favourite,  a  Jirst  love  in  such  matters,  that  we  have  not  seen  for 
many  years,  which  greatly  enhances  the  delight.     We  have,  perhaps. 


MR.   ANGERSTEIN'S   COLLECTION 

pampered  our  imaginations  with  it  all  that  time;  its  charms  have 
sunk  deep  into  our  minds ;  we  wish  to  see  it  once  more,  that  we 
may  confirm  our  judgment,  and  renew  our  vows.  The  Susannah  and 
the  Elders  at  Mr.  Angerstein's  was  one  of  those  that  came  upon  us 
under  these  circumstances.  We  had  seen  it  formerly,  among  other 
visions  of  our  youth,  in  the  Orleans  Collection, — where  we  used  to 
go  and  look  at  it  by  the  hour  together,  till  our  hearts  thrilled  with 
its  beauty,  and  our  eyes  were  filled  with  tears.  How  often  had  we 
thought  of  it  since,  how  often  spoken  of  it ! — There  it  was  still,  the 
same  lovely  phantom  as  ever — not  as  when  Rousseau  met  Madame 
de  Warens,  after  a  lapse  of  twenty  years,  who  was  grown  old  and 
wrinkled — but  as  if  the  young  Jewish  Beauty  had  been  just  surprised 
in  that  unguarded  spot — crouching  down  in  one  corner  of  the  picture, 
the  face  turned  back  with  a  mingled  expression  of  terror,  shame,  and 
unconquerable  sweetness,  and  the  whole  figure  (with  the  arms  crossed) 
shrinking  into  itself  with  bewitching  grace  and  modesty  !  It  is  by 
Ludovico  Caracci,  and  is  worthy  of  his  name,  from  its  truth  and 
purity  of  design,  its  expression  and  its  mellow  depth  of  tone.  Of 
the  Elders,  one  is  represented  in  the  attitude  of  advancing  towards 
her,  while  the  other  beckons  her  to  rise.  We  know  of  no  painter 
who  could  have  improved  upon  the  Susannah,  except  Correggio,  who, 
with  all  his  capricious  blandishments,  and  wreathed  angelic  smiles, 
would  hardly  have  given  the  same  natural  unaffected  grace,  the  same 
perfect  womanhood. 

There  is  but  one  other  picture  in  the  Collection,  that  strikes  us,  as 
a  matter  of  taste  or  fancy,  like  this ;  and  that  is  the  Silenus  teaching  a 
Toung  Apollo  to  play  on  the  pipe — a  small  oblong  picture,-  executed  in 
distemper,  by  Annibal  Caracci.  The  old  preceptor  is  very  fine,  with 
a  jolly,  leering,  pampered  look  of  approbation,  half  inclining  to  the 
brute,  half-conscious  of  the  God ;  but  it  is  the  Apollo  that  constitutes 
the  charm  of  the  picture,  and  is  indeed  divine.  The  whole  figure  is 
full  of  simple  careless  grace,  laughing  in  youth  and  beauty  ;  he  holds 
the  Pan's-pipe  in  both  hands,  looking  up  with  timid  wonder ;  and 
the  expression  of  delight  and  surprise  at  the  sounds  he  produces  is 
not  to  be  surpassed.  The  only  image  we  would  venture  to  compare 
with  it  for  innocent  artless  voluptuousness,  is  that  of  the  shepherd-boy 
in  Sir  Philip  Sidney's  Arcadia,  '  piping  as  though  he  should  never  be 
old !  '  A  comparison  of  this  sort,  we  believe,  may  be  made,  in  spite 
of  the  proverb,  without  injustice  to  the  painter  or  the  poet.  Both 
gain  by  it.  The  idea  conveyed  by  the  one,  perhaps,  receives  an 
additional  grace  and  lustre,  while  a  more  beautiful  moral  sentiment 
hovers  round  the  other,  from  thinking  of  them  in  this  casual  connec- 
tion.    If  again  it  be  asked.  Which  is  the  most  admirable  ? — we  should 

9 


PICTURE-GALLERIES   IN  ENGLAND 

answer — Both  are  equally  exquisite  in  their  way,  and  yield  the 
imagination  all  the  pleasure  it  is  capable  of — and  should  decline 
giving  an  invidious  preference  to  either.  The  cup  can  only  be  full. 
The  young  shepherd  in  the  Arcadia  wants  no  outward  grace  to 
recommend  him ;  the  stripling  God  no  hidden  charm  of  expression. 
The  language  of  painting  and  poetry  is  intelligible  enough  to  mortals  ; 
the  spirit  of  both  is  divine,  and  far  too  good  for  him,  who,  instead  of 
enjoying  to  the  utmost  height,  would  find  an  unwelcome  flaw  in 
either.  The  Silenus  and  Apollo  has  something  of  a  RafFaellesque 
air,  with  a  mixture  of  Correggio's  arch  sensibility — there  is  nothing 
of  Titian  in  the  colouring — yet  Annibal  Caracci  was  in  theory  a 
deserter  from  the  first  to  the  two  last  of  these  masters ;  and  swore 
with  an  oath,  in  a  letter  to  his  uncle  Ludovico,  that  '  they  were  the 
only  true  painters  !  ' 

We  should  nearly  have  exhausted  our  stock  of  enthusiasm  in 
descanting  on  these  two  compositions,  in  almost  any  other  case; 
but  there  is  no  danger  of  this  in  the  present  instance.  If  we  were 
at  any  loss  in  this  respect,  we  should  only  have  to  turn  to  the  large 
picture  of  the  Raising  of  Lazarus,  by  Sebastian  del  Piombo ; 

-'  and  still  walking  under, 


Find  some  new  matter  to  look  up  and  wonder.' 

We  might  dwell  on  the  masterly  strength  of  the  drawing,  the 
gracefulness  of  the  principal  female  figures,  the  high-wrought  execu- 
tion, the  deep,  rich,  mosaic  colouring,  the  massiness  and  bustle  of 
the  back-ground.  We  think  this  one  of  the  best  pictures  on  so 
large  a  scale  that  we  are  anywhere  acquainted  with.  The  whole 
management  of  the  design  has  a  very  noble  and  imposing  effect, 
and  each  part  severally  will  bear  the  closest  scrutiny.  It  is  a 
magnificent  structure  built  of  solid  and  valuable  materials.  The 
artist  has  not  relied  merely  on  the  extent  of  his  canvas,  or  the 
importance  of  his  subject,  for  producing  a  striking  result — the  effect 
is  made  out  by  an  aggregate  of  excellent  parts.  The  hands,  the 
feet,  the  drapery,  the  heads,  the  features,  are  all  fine.  There  is 
some  satisfaction  in  looking  at  a  large  historical  picture,  such  as 
this :  for  you  really  gain  in  quantity,  without  losing  in  quality ; 
and  have  a  studious  imitation  of  individual  nature,  combined  with 
masculine  invention,  and  the  comprehensive  arrangement  of  an 
interesting  story.  The  Lazarus  is  very  fine  and  bold.  The  flesh 
is  well-baked,  dingy,  and  ready  to  crumble  from  the  touch,  when 
it  is  liberated  from  its  dread  confinement  to  have  life  and  motion 
impressed  on  it  again.  He  seems  impatient  of  restraint,  gazes 
eagerly  about  him,  and  looks  out  from  his  shrouded  prison  on  this 
lO 


MR.  ANGERSTEIN'S  COLLECTION 

new  world  with  hurried  amazement,  as  if  Death  had  scarcely  yet 
resigned  his  power  over  the  senses.  We  would  wish  our  artists  to 
look  at  the  legs  and  feet  of  this  figure,  and  see  how  correctness  of 
finishing  and  a  greatness  of  gusto  in  design  are  compatible  with,  and 
set  off  each  other.  The  attendant  female  figures  have  a  peculiar 
grace  and  becoming  dignity,  both  of  expression  and  attitude.  They 
are  in  a  style  something  between  Michael  Angelo  and  Parmegiano. 
They  take  a  deep  interest  in  the  scene,  but  it  is  with  the  air  of 
composure  proper  to  the  sex,  who  are  accustomed  by  nature  and 
duty  to  works  of  charity  and  compassion.  The  head  of  the  old 
man,  kneeling  behind  Christ,  is  an  admirable  study  of  drawing, 
execution,  and  character.  The  Christ  himself  is  grave  and  earnest, 
with  a  noble  and  impressive  countenance ;  but  the  figure  wants  that 
commanding  air  which  ought  to  belong  to  one  possessed  of  preter- 
natural power,  and  in  the  act  of  displaying  it.  Too  much  praise 
cannot  be  given  to  the  back-ground — the  green  and  white  draperies 
of  some  old  people  at  a  distance,  which  are  as  airy  as  they  are 
distinct — the  buildings  like  tombs — and  the  different  groups,  and 
processions  of  figures,  which  seem  to  make  life  almost  as  grave 
and  solemn  a  business  as  death  itself.  This  picture  is  said  by  some 
to  have  been  designed  by  Michael  Angelo,  and  painted  by  Sebastian 
del  Piombo,  in  rivalship  of  some  of  Raphael's  works.  It  was  in  the 
Orleans  Gallery. 

Near  this  large  historical  composition  stands  (or  is  suspended  in 
a  case)  a  single  head,  by  Raphael,  of  Pope  Julius  ii.  It  is  in  itself 
a  Collection — a  world  of  thought  and  character.  There  is  a 
prodigious  weight  and  gravity  of  look,  combined  with  calm  self- 
possession,  and  easiness  of  temper.  It  has  the  cast  of  an  English 
countenance,  which  Raphael's  portraits  often  have,  Titian's  never. 
In  Raphael's  the  mind,  or  the  body,  frequently  prevails ;  in  Titian's 
you  always  see  the  soul — faces  'which  pale  passion  loves.'  Look 
at  the  Music-piece  by  Titian,  close  by  in  this  Collection — it  is 
'all  ear,' — the  expression  is  evanescent  as  the  sounds — the  features 
are  seen  in  a  sort  of  dim  chiaro  scuro,  as  if  the  confused  impressions 
of  another  sense  intervened — and  you  might  easily  suppose  some  of 
the  performers  to  have  been  engaged  the  night  before  in 

'  Mask  or  midnight  serenade. 
Which  the  starved  lover  to  his  mistress  sings. 
Best  quitted  with  disdain.'  ^ 

^  We  like  this  picture  of  a  Concert  the  best  of  the  three  by  Titian  in  the  same 
room.  The  other  two  are  a  Ganymede,  and  a  Venus  and  Adonis  ;  the  last  does 
not  appear  to  us  from  the  hand  of  Titian. 

II 


PICTURE-GALLERIES  IN  ENGLAND 

The  ruddy,  bronzed  colouring  of  Raphael  generally  takes  ofF  from 
any  appearance  of  nocturnal  watching  and  languid  hectic  passion! 
The  portrait  of  Julius  ii.  is  finished  to  a  great  nicety.  The  hairs 
of  the  beard,  the  fringe  on  the  cap,  are  done  by  minute  and  careful 
touches  of  the  pencil.  In  seeing  the  labour,  the  conscientious  and 
modest  pains,  which  this  great  painter  bestowed  upon  his  smallest 
works,  we  cannot  help  being  struck  with  the  number  and  magnitude 
of  those  he  left  behind  him.  When  we  have  a  single  portrait  placed 
before  us,  that  might  seem  to  have  taken  half  a  year  to  complete  it, 
we  wonder  how  the  same  painter  could  find  time  to  execute  his 
Cartoons,  the  compartments  of  the  Vatican,  and  a  thousand  other 
matchless  works.  The  same  account  serves  for  both.  The  more 
we  do,  the  more  we  can  do.  Our  leisure  (though  it  may  seem 
a  paradox)  is  in  proportion  to  our  industry.  The  same  habit  of 
intense  application,  which  led  our  artist  to  bestow  as  much  pains 
and  attention  on  the  study  of  a  single  head,  as  if  his  whole  reputation 
had  depended  on  it,  enabled  him  to  set  about  the  greatest  works 
with  alacrity,  and  to  finish  them  with  ease.  If  he  had  done  any 
thing  he  undertook  to  do,  in  a  slovenly  disreputable  manner,  he 
would  (upon  the  same  principle)  have  lain  idle  half  his  time.  Zeal 
and  diligence,  in  this  view,  make  life,  short  as  it  is,  long. — Neither 
did  Raphael,  it  should  seem,  found  his  historical  pretensions  on  his 
incapacity  to  paint  a  good  portrait.  On  the  contrary,  the  latter  here 
looks  very  much  like  the  corner-stone  of  the  historical  edifice.  Nature 
did  not  put  him  out.  He  was  not  too  great  a  genius  to  copy  what  he 
saw.  He  probably  thought  that  a  deference  to  nature  is  the 
beginning  of  art,  and  that  the  highest  eminence  is  scaled  by  single 
steps ! 

On  the  same  stand  as  the  portrait  of  Julius  u.  is  the  much  vaunted 
Correggio — the  Christ  in  the  Garden.  We  would  not  give  a  farthing 
for  it.  The  drapery  of  the  Christ  is  highly  finished  in  a  silver  and 
azure  tone — but  high  finishing  is  not  all  we  ask  from  Correggio. 
It  is  more  worthy  of  Carlo  Dolce. — Lest  we  should  forget  it,  we 
may  mention  here,  that  the  admired  portrait  of  Govarcius  was  gone 
to  be  copied  at  Somerset-house.  The  Academy  have  then,  at  length, 
fallen  into  the  method  pursued  at  the  British  Gallery,  of  recommend- 
ing the  students  to  copy  from  the  Old  Masters.  Well — better  late 
than  never  !  This  same  portrait  is  not,  we  think,  the  truest  specimen 
of  Vandyke.  It  has  not  his  mild,  pensive,  somewhat  effeminate  cast 
of  colour  and  expression.  His  best  portraits  have  an  air  of  faded 
gentility  about  them.  The  Govarcius  has  too  many  streaks  of  blood- 
colour,  too  many  marks  of  the  pencil,  to  convey  an  exact  idea  of 
Vandyke's  characteristic  excellence ;  though  it  is  a  fine  imitation  of 

12 


MR.   ANGERSTEIN'S   COLLECTION 

Rubens's  florid  manner.  Vandyke's  most  striking  portraits  are  those 
which  look  just  like  a  gentleman  or  lady  seen  in  a  looking-glass,  and 
neither  more  nor  less. 

Of  the  Claudes,  we  prefer  the  St.  Ursula — the  Embariing  of  the 
Five  thousand  Virgins — to  the  others.  The  water  is  exquisite  ;  and 
the  sails  of  the  vessels  glittering  in  the  morning  sun,  and  the  blue 
flags  placed  against  the  trees,  which  seem  like  an  opening  into  the 
sky  behind — so  sparkling  is  the  effect  of  this  ambiguity  in  colouring 
— are  in  Claude's  most  perfect  manner.  The  Altieri  Claude  is  one 
of  his  noblest  and  most  classical  compositions,  with  towers,  and  trees, 
and  streams,  and  flocks,  and  herds,  and  distant  sunny  vales, 

'  Where  universal  Pan, 

Knit  with  the  Graces  and  the  Hours  in  dance, 
Leads  on  the  eternal  spring  :— ' 

but  the  eflijct  of  the  execution  has  been  deadened  and  rendered  flat 
by  time  or  ill-usage.  There  is  a  dull,  formal  appearance,  as  if  the 
different  masses  of  sky,  of  water,  &c.,  were  laid  on  with  plates  of  tin 
or  lead.  This  is  not  a  general  defect  in  Claude :  his  landscapes  have 
the  greatest  quantity  of  inflection,  the  most  delicate  brilliancy,  of  all 
others.  A  lady  had  been  making  a  good  copy  of  the  Seaport,  which 
is  a  companion  to  the  one  we  have  described.  We  do  not  think 
these  Claudes,  famous  as  they  are,  equal  to  Lord  Egremont's  Jacob 
and  Laban ;  to  the  Enchanted  Castle ;  to  a  green  vernal  Landscape, 
which  was  in  Walsh  Porter's  Collection,  and  which  was  the  very 
finest  we  ever  saw ;  nor  to  some  others  that  have  appeared  from  time 
to  time  in  the  British  Institution.  We  are  sorry  to  make  this,  which 
may  be  thought  an  ill-natured,  remark :  but,  though  we  have  a  great 
respect  for  Mr.  Angerstein's  taste,  we  have  a  greater  for  Claude 
Lorraine's  reputation.  Let  any  persons  admire  these  specimens  of 
his  art  as  much  as  they  will  (and  the  more  they  admire  them,  the 
more  we  shall  be  gratified),  and  then  we  will  tell  them,  he  could  do 
far  finer  things  than  these ! 

There  is  one  Rembrandt,  and  one  N.  Poussin.  The  Rembrandt 
(the  Woman  taken  in  Adultery)  is  prodigious  in  colouring,  in  light  and 
shade,  in  pencilling,  in  solemn  effect ;  but  that  is  nearly  all — 

'  Of  outward  show 
Elaborate,  of  inward  less  exact.' 

Nevertheless,  it  is  worth  any  money.  The  Christ  has  considerable 
seriousness  and  dignity  of  aspect.  The  marble  pavement,  of  which 
the  light  is  even  dazzling ;  the  figures  of  the  two  Rabbis  to  the  right, 
radiant  with  crimson,  green,  and  azure  ;  the  back-ground,  which  seems 

13 


PICTURE-GALLERIES   IN   ENGLAND 

like  some  rich  oil-colour  smeared  over  a  ground  of  gold,  and  where 
the  eye  staggers  on  from  one  abyss  of  obscurity  to  another, — place 
this  picture  in  the  first  rank  of  Rembrandt's  wonderful  performances. 
If  this  extraordinary  genius  was  the  most  literal  and  vulgar  of 
draughtsmen,  he  was  the  most  ideal  of  colourists.  When  Annibal 
Caracci  vowed  to  God,  that  Titian  and  Correggio  were  the  only 
true  painters,  he  had  not  seen  Rembrandt; — if  he  had,  he  would 
have  added  him  to  the  list.  The  Poussin  is  a  Dance  of  Bacchanals  : 
theirs  are  not  '  pious  orgies.'  It  is,  however,  one  of  this  master's 
finest  pictures,  both  in  the  spirit  of  the  execution,  and  the  ingenuity 
and  equivoque  of  the  invention.  If  the  purity  of  the  drawing  will 
make  amends  for  the  impurity  of  the  design,  it  may  pass :  assuredly 
the  jsame  subject,  badly  executed,  would  not  be  endured ;  but  the 
life  of  mind,  the  dexterity  of  combination  displayed  in  it,  supply 
the  want  of  decorum.  The  old  adage,  that  '  Vice,  by  losing  all  its 
grossness,  loses  half  its  evil,'  seems  chiefly  applicable  to  pictures. 
Thus  a  naked  figure,  that  has  nothing  but  its  nakedness  to  recommend 
it,  is  not  fit  to  be  hung  up  in  decent  apartments.  If  it  is  a  Nymph 
by  Titian,  Correggio's  16,  we  no  longer  think  of  its  being  naked ; 
but  merely  of  its  sweetness,  its  beauty,  its  naturalness.  So  far  art, 
as  it  is  intellectual,  has  a  refinement  and  extreme  unction  of  its  own. 
Indifferent  pictures,  like  dull  people,  must  absolutely  be  moral !  We 
suggest  this  as  a  hint  to  those  persons  of  more  gallantry  than  discretion, 
who  think  that  to  have  an  indecent  daub  hanging  up  in  one  corner  of 
the  room,  is  proof  of  a  liberality  of  gusto,  and  a  considerable  progress 
in  itirtii.     Tout  au  contraire. 

We  have  a  clear,  brown,  woody  Landscape  by  Caspar  Poussin,  in 
his  fine  determined  style  of  pencilling,  which  gives  to  earth  its 
solidity,  and  to  the  air  its  proper  attributes.  There  are  perhaps, 
no  landscapes  that  excel  his  in  this  fresh,  healthy  look  of  nature. 
One  might  say,  that  wherever  his  pencil  loves  to  haunt,  'the  air 
is  delicate.'  We  forgot  to  notice  a  St.  John  in  the  Wilderness,  by 
A.  Caracci,  which  has  much  of  the  autumnal  tone,  the  'sear  and 
yellow  leaf,'  of  Titian's  landscape-compositions.  A  Rape  of  the 
SaUnes,  in  the  inner  room,  by  Rubens,  is,  we  think,  the  most 
tasteless  picture  in  the  Collection:  to  see  plump,  florid  viragos 
struggling  with  bearded  ruffians,  and  tricked  out  in  the  flounces, 
furbelows,  and  finery  of  the  court  of  Louis  xiv.  is  preposterous. 
But  there  is  another  Rubens  in  the  outer  room,  which,  though 
fantastical  and  quaint,  has  qualities  to  redeem  all  faults.  It  is  an 
allegory  of  himself  and  his  three  wives,  as  a  St.  George  and  Holy 
Family,  with  his  children  as  Christ  and  St.  John,  playing  with  a 
Iamb ;  in  which  he  has  contrived  to  bring  together  all  that  is  rich 

14 


MR.   ANGERSTEIN'S  COLLECTION 

in  antique  dresses,  (black  as  jet,  and  shining  like  diamonds,)  trans- 
parent in  flesh-colour,  agreeable  in  landscape,  unfettered  in  composi- 
tion. The  light  streams  from  rosy  clouds ;  the  breeze  curls  the  ' 
branches  of  the  trees  in  the  back-ground,  and  plays  on  the  clear 
complexions  of  the  various  scattered  group.  It  is  one  of  this  painter's 
most  splendid,  and,  at  the  same  time,  most  solid  and  sharply  finished 
productions. 

Mr.  Wilkie's  Alehouse  Door  is  here,  and  deserves  to  be  here. 
Still  it  is  not  his  best ;  though  there  are  some  very  pleasing  rustic 
figures,  and  some  touching  passages  in  it.  As  in  his  Blind- Man' s-buff, 
the  groups  are  too  straggling,  and  spread  over  too  large  a  surface  of 
bare  foreground,  which  Mr.  Wilkie  does  not  paint  well.  It  looks 
more  like  putty  than  earth  or  clay.  The  artist  has  a  better  eye 
for  the  individual  details,  than  for  the  general  tone  of  objects. 
Mr.  Liston's  face  in  this  •  flock  of  drunkards '  is  a  smiling  failure. 

A  portrait  of  Hogarth,  by  himself,  and  Sir  Joshua's  half-length  of 
Lord  Heathfield,  hang  in  the  same  room.  The  last  of  these  is 
certainly  a  fine  picture,  well  composed,  richly  coloured,  with 
considerable  character,  and  a  look  of  nature.  Nevertheless,  our 
artist's  pictures,  seen  among  standard  works,  have  (to  speak  it 
plainly)  something  old-womanish  about  them.  By  their  obsolete 
and  affected  air,  they  remind  one  of  antiquated  ladies  of  quality,  and 
are  a  kind  of  Duchess-Dowagers  in  the  art — somewhere  between  the 
living  and  the  dead. 

Hogarth's  series  of  the  Marriage  a-la-Mode^  (the  most  delicately 
painted  of  all  his  pictures,  and  admirably  they  certainly  are  painted) 
concludes  the  Catalogue  Raisonnee  of  this  Collection. — A  study  of 
Heads,  by  Correggio,  and  some  of  Mr.  Fuseli's  stupendous  figures 
from  his  Milton  Gallery,  are  on  the  staircase. 


A  CATALOGUE  OF  THE 
PICTURES  IN  THE  ANGERSTEIN  GALLERY 

1 .  The  Marriage  a  la  Mode,  No.  i .  Hogarth, 

2.  The  Marriage  a  la  Mode,  No.  2.  Ditto. 

3.  The  Marriage  a  la  Mode,  No.  3.  Ditto. 

4.  The  Marriage  a  la  Mode,  No.  4.  Ditto. 

5.  The  Marriage  a  la  Mode,  No.  5.  Ditto. 

6.  The  Marriage  a  la  Mode,  No.  6.  Ditto. 

1  The  Reader,  if  he  pleases,  may  turn  to  an  Essay  on  this  subject  in  the 
lUiund  Table. 

IS 


PICTURE-GALLERIES   IN  ENGLAND 

7.  Portrait  of  Lord  Heathfield,  the  Defender  of  Gibraltar. 

Sir  Joshua  Reynolds. 

8.  His  own  Portrait,  with  his  Dog.  Hogarth. 

9.  The  Village  Festival.  Wilkie. 

10.  The  Portrait  of  Rubens.  (Formerly  in  the  Collection  of 
Sir  Joshua  Reynolds.)  Vandycl. 

11.  The  Woman  taken  in  Adultery.  Painted  for  the  Burgo- 
master Six.  Rembrandt. 

12.  A  Landscape;  Evening;  with  Horses,  Cattle,  and  Figures. 
(From  the  Collection  of  Sir  Laurence  Dundas.)  Cuyp. 

13.  Christ  praying  in  the  Garden.  Correggio. 

14.  The  Adoration  of  the  Shepherds.  Rembrandt. 

15.  A  Land  Storm.     (From  the  Lansdown  Collection.) 

Gaspar  Poussin. 

16.  Portrait  of  Pope  Julius  the  Second.  (From  the  Lancillotti 
Palace.)  Raphael. 

17.  The  Emperor  Theodosius  refused  admittance  into  the  Church 
by  St.  Ambrose.  Vandyck. 

18.  A  Landscape,  with  Figures;  representing  Abraham  preparing 
to  sacrifice  his  son  Isaac.      (From  the  Colonna  Palace.) 

Gaspar  Poussin. 

19.  Portrait  of  Govartius.  Vandyck. 

20.  Pan  teaching  Apollo  the  use  of  the  Pipe.  Annibal  Caracci. 

21.  A  Sea-Port  at  Sunset,  in  which  is  represented  the  Legend 
of  the  Embarkation  of  St.  Ursula.  (Formerly  in  the  Barberini 
Palace. )  Claude. 

22.  Erminia  discovering  the  Shepherds  :  From  Tasso's  '  Jerusalem 
Delivered.'  Domenichino. 

23.  Philip  the  Fourth  and  his  Queen.  Velasque%. 

24.  Venus  and  Adonis.     (From  the  Colonna  Palace.)         Titian. 

25.  St.  John  in  the  Wilderness.     (From  the  Orleans  Collection.) 

Annibal  Caracci. 

26.  A  Landscape,  with  Figures.  Claude. 

27.  Christ  raising  Lazarus.     (From  the  Orleans  Collection.) 

Sebastian  del  Piomho. 

28.  A  Concert.  Titian. 

29.  An  Italian  Sea-Port  at  Sunset,  with  Figures.  Claude. 

30.  The  Rape  of  Ganymede.    (  From  the  Colonna  Palace. )  Titian. 

31.  A  Sea-Port,  in  which  is  represented  the  Embarkation  of  the 
Queen  of  Sheba  on  her  visit  to  Solomon.  (From  the  Collection  of 
the  Duke  de  Bouillon. )  Claude. 

32.  A  Study  of  Heads.     (From  the  Orleans  Collection.) 

Correggio. 
16 


THE   DULWICH   GALLERY 

33.  A  Study  of  Heads.     (From  the  same  Collection.)  Correggio. 

34.  The  Rape  of  the  Sabine  Women.  Rubens. 

35.  The  Holy  Family,  with  St.  George,  a  Female  Saint,  and 
Angels.  Rubens. 

36.  A  Landscape,  with  Figures;    representing  the  Marriage  of 
Rebecca.     (From  the  Collection  of  the  Duke  de  Bouillon.)   Claude. 

37.  Susanna  and  the  Elders.     (From  the  Orleans  Collection.) 

Ludov.  Caracci. 

38.  A  Bacchanalian  Scene.  Nich.  Poussin. 


THE  DULWICH  GALLERY 

It  was  on  the  5th  of  November  that  we  went  to  see  this  Gallery. 
The  morning  was  mild,  calm,  pleasant :  it  was  a  day  to  ruminate  on 
the  object  we  had  in  view.     It  was  the  time  of  year 

'  When  yellow  leaves,  or  few  or  none,  do  hang 
Upon  the  branches ; ' 

their  scattered  gold  was  strongly  contrasted  with  the  dark  green 
spiral  shoots  of  the  cedar  trees  that  skirt  the  road ;  the  sun  shone 
faint  and  watery,  as  if  smiling  his  last;  Winter  gently  let  go  the 
hand  of  Summer,  and  the  green  fields,  wet  with  the  mist,  anticipated 
the  return  of  Spring.  At  the  end  of  a  beautiful  little  village,  Dulwich 
College  appeared  in  view,  with  modest  state,  yet  mindful  of  the  olden 
time ;  and  the  name  of  Allen  and  his  compeers  rushed  full  upon  the 
memory  !  How  many  races  of  school-boys  have  played  within  its 
walls,  or  stammered  out  a  lesson,  or  sauntered  away  their  vacant 
hours  in  its  shade:  yet,  not  one  Shakspeare  is  there  to  be  found 
among  them  all !  The  boy  is  clothed  and  fed  and  gets  through 
his  accidence :  but  no  trace  of  his  youthful  learning,  any  more  than 
of  his  saffron  livery,  is  to  be  met  with  in  the  man.  Genius  is  not  to 
be  'constrained  by  mastery.' — Nothing  comes  of  these  endowments 
and  foundations  for  learning, — you  might  as  well  make  dirt-pies,  or 
build  houses  with  cards.  Yet  something  does  come  of  them  too — a 
retreat  for  age,  a  dream  in  youth — a  feeling  in  the  air  around  them, 
the  memory  of  the  past,  the  hope  of  what  will  never  be.  Sweet  are 
the  studies  of  the  school-boy,  delicious  his  idle  hours  !  Fresh  and 
gladsome  is  his  waking,  balmy  are  his  slumbers,  book-pillowed !  He 
wears  a  green  and  yellow  livery  perhaps ;  but  '  green  and  yellow 
melancholy '  comes  not  near  him,  or  if  it  does,  is  tempered  with 
youth  and  innocence !  To  thumb  his  Eutropius,  or  to  knuckle  down 
at  taw,  are  to  him  equally  delightful ;  for  whatever  stirs  the  blood, 
VOL.  IX.  :  B  17 


THE  PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

or  inspires  thought  in  him,  quickens  the  pulse  of  life  and  joy.  He 
has  only  to  feel,  in  order  to  be  happy ;  pain  turns  smiling  from  him, 
and  sorrow  is  only  a  softer  kind  of  pleasure.  Each  sensation  is  but 
an  unfolding  of  his  new  being ;  care,  age,  sickness,  are  idle  words ; 
the  musty  records  of  antiquity  look  glossy  in  his  sparkling  eye,  and 
he  clasps  immortality  as  his  future  bride !  The  coming  years  hurt 
him  not — he  hears  their  sound  afar  off,  and  is  glad.  See  him  there, 
the  urchin,  seated  in  the  sun,  with  a  book  in  his  hand,  and  the  wall 
at  his  back.  He  has  a  thicker  wall  before  him — the  wall  that  parts 
him  from  the  future.  He  sees  not  the  archers  taking  aim  at  his 
peace ;  he  knows  not  the  hands  that  are  to  mangle  his  bosom.  He 
stirs  not,  he  still  pores  upon  his  book,  and,  as  he  reads,  a  slight 
hectic  flush  passes  over  his  cheek,  for  he  sees  the  letters  that  compose 
the  word  Fame  glitter  on  the  page,  and  his  eyes  swim,  and  he  thinks 
that  he  will  one  day  write  a  book,  and  have  his  name  repeated  by 
thousands  of  readers,  and  assume  a  certain  signature,  and  write  Essays 
and  Criticisms  in  a  London  Magazine,  as  a  consummation  of  felicity 
scarcely  to  be  believed.  Come  hither,  thou  poor  little  fellow,  and 
let  us  change  places  with  thee  if  thou  wilt ;  here,  take  the  pen  and 
finish  this  article,  and  sign  what  name  you  please  to  it ;  so  that  we 
may  but  change  our  dress  for  yours,  and  sit  shivering  in  the  sun, 
and  con  over  our  little  task,  and  feed  poor,  and  lie  hard,  and  be 
contented  and  happy,  and  think  what  a  fine  thing  it  is  to  be  an 
author,  and  dream  of  immortality,  and  sleep  o'nights ! 

There  is  something  affecting  and  monastic  in  the  sight  of  this  little 
nursery  of  learning,  simple  and  retired  as  it  stands,  just  on  the  verge 
of  the  metropolis,  and  in  the  midst  of  modern  improvements.  There 
is  a  chapel,  containing  a  copy  of  RaphaeTs  Transfiguration,  by  Julio 
Romano :  but  the  great  attraction  to  curiosity  at  present  is  the 
Collection  of  pictures  left  to  the  College  by  the  late  Sir  Francis 
Bourgeois,  who  is  buried  in  a  mausoleum  close  by.  He  once  (it  is 
said)  spent  an  agreeable  day  here  in  company  with  the  Masters  of 
the  College  and  some  other  friends  ;  and  he  determined,  in  conse- 
quence, upon  this  singular  mode  of  testifying  his  gratitude  and  his 
respect.  Perhaps,  also,  some  such  idle  thoughts  as  we  have  here 
recorded  might  have  mingled  with  this  resolution.  The  contempla- 
tion and  the  approach  of  death  might  have  been  softened  to  his  mind 
by  being  associated  with  the  hopes  of  childhood  ;  and  he  might  wish 
that  his  remains  should  repose,  in  monumental  state,  amidst  'the 
innocence  and  simplicity  of  poor  Charity  Boys !  '  Might  it  not  have 
been  so  ? 

The  pictures  are  356  in  number,  and  are  hung  on  the  walls  of 
a  large  gallery,  built  for  the  purpose,  and  divided  into  five  compart- 

18 


THE  DULWICH   GALLERY 

ments.  They  certainly  looked  better  in  their  old  places,  at  the 
house  of  Mr.  Desenfans  (the  original  collector),  where  they  were 
distributed  into  a  number  of  small  rooms,  and  seen  separately  and 
close  to  the  eye.  They  are  mostly  cabinet-pictures ;  and  not  only 
does  the  height,  at  which  many  of  them  are  necessarily  hung  to  cover 
a  large  space,  lessen  the  effect,  but  the  number  distracts  and  deadens 
the  attention.  Besides,  the  skylights  are  so  contrived  as  to  '  shed  a 
dim,'  though  not  a  '  religious  light '  upon  them.  At  our  entrance, 
we  were  first  struck  by  our  old  friends  the  Cuyps ;  and  just  beyond, 
caught  a  glimpse  of  that  fine  female  head  by  Carlo  Maratti,  giving  us 
a  welcome  with  cordial  glances.     May  we  not  exclaim — 

'  What  a  delicious  breath  painting  sends  forth  ! 
The  violet-bed 's  not  sweeter.' 

A  fine  gallery  of  pictures  is  a  sort  of  illustration  of  Berkeley's 
Theory  of  Matter  and  Spirit.  It  is  like  a  palace  of  thought — 
another  universe,  built  of  air,  of  shadows,  of  colours.  Every  thing 
seems  '  palpable  to  feeling  as  to  sight.'  Substances  turn  to  shadows 
by  the  painter's  arch-chemic  touch ;  shadows  harden  into  substances. 
'  The  eye  is  made  the  fool  of  the  other  senses,  or  else  worth  all  the 
rest.'  The  material  is  in  some  sense  embodied  in  the  immaterial, 
or,  at  least,  we  see  all  things  in  a  sort  of  intellectual  mirror.  The 
world  of  art  is  an  enchanting;  deception.  We  discover  distance  in 
a  glazed  surface  ;  a  provmce  is  contained  in  a  foot  of  canvass ;  a  thin 
evanescent  tint  gives  the  form  and  pressure  of  rocks  and  trees ;  an 
inert  shape  has  life  and  motion  in  it.  Time  stands  still,  and  the 
dead  re-appear,  by  means  of  this  '  so  potent  art !  '  Look  at  the 
Cuyp  next  the  door  (No.  3).  It  is  woven  of  etherial  hues.  A  soft 
mist  is  on  it,  a  veil  of  subtle  air.  The  tender  green  of  the  vallies 
beyond  the  gleaming  lake,  the  purple  light  of  the  hills,  have  an  effect 
like  the  down  on  an  unripe  nectarine.  You  may  lay  your  finger  on 
the  canvass  ;  but  miles  of  dewy  vapour  and  sunshine  are  between  you 
and  the  objects  you  survey.  It  is  almost  needless  to  point  out  that 
the  cattle  and  figures  in  the  fore-ground,  like  dark,  transparent  spots, 
give  an  immense  relief  to  the  perspective.  This  is,  we  think,  the 
finest  Cuyp,  perhaps,  in  the  world.  The  landscape  opposite  to  it 
(in  the  same  room)  by  Albert  Cuyp,  has  a  richer  colouring  and 
a  stronger  contrast  of  light  and  shade,  but  it  has  not  that  tender  bloom 
of  a  spring  morning  (so  delicate,  yet  so  powerful  in  its  effect)  which 
the  other  possesses.  Two  Horses,  by  Cuyp  (No.  74),  is  another 
admirable  specimen  of  this  excellent  painter.  It  is  hard  to  say, 
which  is  most  true  to  nature — the  sleek,  well-fed  look  of  the  bay 
horse,  or  the  bone  and  spirit  of  the  dappled  iron-grey  one,  or  the 

19 


THE  PICTURE  GALLERIES  OF  ENGLAND 

face  of  the  man  who  is  busy  fastening  a  girth.  Nature  is  scarcely 
more  faithful  to  itself,  than  this  delightfully  unmannered,  unaffected 
picture  is  to  it.  In  the  same  room  there  are  several  good  Tenierses, 
and  a  small  Head  of  an  old  Man,  by  Rembrandt,  which  is  as  smoothly 
finished  as  a  miniature.  No.  lo.  Inferior  of  an  Ale-house,  by  Adrian 
Brouwer,  almost  gives  one  a  sick  head-ache ;  particularly,  the  face 
and  figure  of  the  man  leaning  against  the  door,  overcome  with 
'  potations  pottle  deep.'  Brouwer  united  the  depth  and  richness 
of  Ostade  to  the  spirit  and  felicity  of  Teniers.  No.  12,  Sleeping 
Nymph  and  Satyr,  and  59,  Nymph  and  Satyr,  by  Polemberg,  are  not 
pictures  to  our  taste.  Why  should  any  one  make  it  a  rule  never  to 
paint  any  thing  but  this  one  subject  ?  Was  it  to  please  himself  or 
others?  The  one  shows  bad  taste,  the  other  wrong  judgment. 
The  grossness  of  the  selection  is  hardly  more  offensive  than  the 
finicalness  of  the  execution.  No.  49,  a  Mater  Dolorosa,  by  Carlo 
Dolce,  is  a  very  good  specimen  of  this  master ;  but  the  expression 
has  too  great  a  mixture  of  piety  and  pauperism  in  it.  It  is  not 
altogether  spiritual.  No.  51,  Ji  School  with  Girls  at  work,  by 
Crespi,  is  a  most  rubbishly  performance,  and  has  the  look  of  a 
modern  picture.  It  was,  no  doubt,  painted  in  the  fashion  of  the 
time,  and  is  now  old-fashioned.  Every  thing  has  this  modern,  or 
rather  uncouth  and  obsolete  look,  which,  besides  the  temporary  and 
local  circumstances,  has  not  the  free  look  of  nature.  Dress  a  figure 
in  what  costume  you  please  (however  fantastic,  however  barbarous), 
but  add  the  expression  which  is  common  to  all  faces,  the  properties 
that  are  common  to  all  drapery  in  its  elementary  principles,  and  the 
picture  will  belong  to  all  times  and  places.  It  is  not  the  addition  of 
individual  circumstances,  but  the  omission  of  general  truth,  that  makes 
the  little,  the  deformed,  and  the  short-lived  in  art.  No.  183,  Religion 
in  the  Desart,  a  sketch  by  Sir  Francis  Bourgeois,  is  a  proof  of  this 
remark.  There  are  no  details,  nor  is  there  any  appearance  of  per- 
manence or  sta[bility  about  it.  It]  seems  to  have  been  painted  yester- 
day, and  to  labour  under  premature  decay.  It  has  a  look  of  being 
half  done,  and  you  have  no  wish  to  see  it  finished.  No.  53, 
Interior  of  a  Cathedral,  by  Sanadram,  is  curious  and  fine.  From 
one  end  of  the  perspective  to  the  other — and  back  again — would 
make  a  morning's  walk. 

In  the  Second  Room,  No.  90,  a  Sea  Storm,  by  Backhuysen,  and 
No.  93,  A  Calm,  by  W.  Vandervelde,  are  equally  excellent,  the  one 
for  its  gloomy  turbulence,  and  the  other  for  its  glassy  smoothness. 
92,  Landscape  with  Cattle  and  Figures,  is  by  Both,  who  is,  we 
confess,  no  great  favourite  of  ours.  We  do  not  like  his  straggling 
branches  of  trees  without  masses  of  foliage,  continually  running  up 

20 


THE   DULWICH   GALLERY 

into  the  sky,  merely  to  let  in  the  landscape  beyond.  No.  96,  Blowing 
Hot  and  Cold,  by  Jordaens,  is  as  fine  a  picture  as  need  be  painted. 
It  is  full  of  character,  of  life,  and  pleasing  colour.  It  is  rich  and 
not  gross.  98,  Portrait  of  a  Lady,  said  in  the  printed  Catalogue  to 
be  by  Andrea  Sacchi,  is  surely  by  Carlo  Maratti,  to  whom  it  used  to 
be  given.  It  has  great  beauty,  great  elegance,  great  expression,  and 
great  brilliancy  of  execution  ;  but  every  thing  in  it  belongs  to  a  more 
polished  style  of  art  than  Andrea  Sacchi.  Be  this  as  it  may,  it  is  one 
of  the  most  perfect  pictures  in  the  collection.  Of  the  portraits  of 
known  individuals  in  this  room,  we  wish  to  say  but  little,  for  we  can 
say  nothing  good.  That  of  Mr.  Kemble,  by  Beechey,  is  perhaps  the 
most  direct  and  manly.  In  this  room  is  Rubens's  Sampson  and  Dalilah, 
a  coarse  daub— at  least,  it  looks  so  between  two  pictures  by  Vandyke, 
Chanty,  and  a  Madonna  and  Infant  Christ.  That  painter  probably 
never  produced  any  thing  more  complete  than  these  two  compositions. 
They  have  the  softness  of  air,  the  solidity  of  marble :  the  pencil 
appears  to  float  and  glide  over  the  features  of  the  face,  the  folds 
of  the  drapery,  with  easy  volubility,  but  to  mark  every  thing  with 
a  precision,  a  force,  a  grace  indescribable.  Truth  seems  to  hold  the 
pencil,  and  elegance  to  guide  it.  The  attitudes  are  exquisite,  and  the 
expression  all  but  divine.  It  is  not  like  Raphael's,  it  is  true — but 
whose  else  was  ?  Vandyke  was  born  in  Holland,  and  lived  most  of  his 
time  in  England  ! — There  are  several  capital  pictures  of  horses,  &c.  by 
Wouvermans,  in  the  same  room,  particularly  the  one  with  a  hay-cart 
loading  on  the  top  of  a  rising  ground.  The  composition  is  as  striking 
and  pleasing  as  the  execution  is  delicate.  There  is  immense  knowledge 
and  character  in  Wouvermans'  horses — an  ear,  an  eye  turned  round, 
a  cropped  tail,  give  you  their  history  and  thoughts — but  from  the 
want  of  a  little  arrangement,  his  figures  look  too  often  like  spots  on  a 
dark  ground.  When  they  are  properly  relieved  and  disentangled 
from  the  rest  of  the  composition,  there  is  an  appearance  of  great  life 
and  bustle  in  his  pictures.  His  horses,  however,  have  too  much  of 
the  manege  in  them — he  seldoms  gets  beyond  the  camp  or  the  riding 
school. — This  room  is  rich  in  master-pieces.  Here  is  the  Jacobus 
Dream,  by  Rembrandt,  with  that  sleeping  figure,  thrown  like  a 
bundle  of  clothes  in  one  comer  of  the  picture,  by  the  side  of  some 
stunted  bushes,  and  with  those  winged  shapes,  not  human,  nor 
angelical,  but  bird-like,  dream-like,  treading  on  clouds,  ascending, 
descending  through  the  realms  of  endless  light,  that  loses  itself  in 
infinite  space !  No  one  else  could  ever  grapple  with  this  subject,  or 
stamp  it  on  the  willing  canvass  in  its  gorgeous  obscurity  but  Rem- 
brandt !  Here  also  is  the  St.  Barbara,  of  Rubens,  fleeing  from  her 
persecutors ;  a  noble  design,  as  if  she  were  scaling  the  steps  of  some 

21 


THE  PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

high  overhanging  turret,  moving  majestically  on,  with  Fear  before 
her,  Death  behind  her,  and  Martyrdom  crowning  her : — and  here  is 
an  eloquent  landscape  by  the  same  master-hand,  the  subject  of  which 
is,  a  shepherd  piping  his  flock  homewards  through  a  narrow  defile, 
with  a  graceful  group  of  autumnal  trees  waving  on  the  edge  of  the 
declivity  above,  and  the  rosy  evening  light  streaming  through  the 
clouds  on  the  green  moist  landscape  in  the  still  lengthening  distance. 
Here  (to  pass  from  one  kind  of  excellence  to  another  with  kindly 
interchange)  is  a  clear  sparkling  Waterfall,  by  Ruysdael,  and 
Hobbima's  Water-Mill,  with  the  wheels  in  motion,  and  the  ducks 
paddling  in  the  restless  stream.  Is  not  this  a  sad  anti-climax  from 
Jacob's  Dream  to  a  picture  of  a  Water-Mill  ?  We  do  not  know ; 
and  we  should  care  as  little,  could  we  but  paint  either  of  the 
pictures. 

'  Entire  affection  scometh  nicer  hands.' 

If  a  picture  is  admirable  in  its  kind,  we  do  not  give  ourselves  much 
trouble  about  the  subject.  Could  we  paint  as  well  as  Hobbima,  we 
should  not  envy  Rembrandt :  nay,  even  as  it  is,  while  we  can  relish 
both,  we  envy  neither  ! 

The  Centre  Room  commences  with  a  Girl  at  a  Windoiv,  by 
Rembrandt.  The  picture  is  known  by  the  print  of  it,  and  is  one  of 
the  most  remarkable  and  pleasing  in  the  Collection.  For  clearness, 
for  breadth,  for  a  lively,  ruddy  look  of  healthy  nature,  it  cannot  be 
surpassed.  The  execution  of  the  drapery  is  masterly.  There  is  a 
story  told  of  its  being  his  servant-maid  looking  out  of  a  window,  but 
it  is  evidently  the  portrait  of  a  mere  child. — y/  Farrier  shoeing  an  Ass, 
by  Berchem,  is  in  his  usual  manner.  There  is  truth  of  character  and 
delicate  finishing ;  but  the  fault  of  all  Berchem's  pictures  is,  that  he 
continues  to  finish  after  he  has  done  looking  at  nature,  and  his  last 
touches  are  different  from  hers.  Hence  comes  that  resemblance  to 
tea-hoard  painting,  which  even  his  best  works  are  chargeable  with. 
We  find  here  one  or  two  small  Claudes  of  no  great  value ;  and  two 
very  clever  specimens  of  the  court-painter,  Watteau,  the  Gainsborough 
of  France.  They  are  marked  as  Nos.  184  and  194,  Fete  Champetre, 
and  Le  Bal  Champetre.  There  is  something  exceedingly  light,  agree- 
able, and  characteristic  in  this  artist's  productions.  He  might  almost 
be  said  to  breathe  his  figures  and  his  flowers  on  the  canvas — so  fragile 
is  their  texture,  so  evanescent  is  his  touch.  He  unites  the  court  and 
the  country  at  a  sort  of  salient  point — you  may  fancy  yourself  with 
Count  Grammont  and  the  beauties  of  Charles  11.  in  their  gay  retreat 
at  Tunbridge  Wells.  His  trees  have  a  drawing-room  air  with  them, 
an  appearance  of  gentility  and  etiquette,  and  nod  gracefiilly  over-head ; 

22 


THE  DULWICH   GALLERY 

while  the  figures  below,  thin  as  air,  and  "uegetably  clad,  in  the  midst 
of  all  their  aifectation  and  grimace,  seem  to  have  just  sprung  out  of 
the  ground,  or  to  be  the  fairy  inhabitants  of  the  scene  in  masquerade. 
They  are  the  Oreads  and  Dryads  of  the  Luxembourg !  Quaint 
association,  happily  effected  by  the  pencil  of  Watteau !  In  the  Bal 
Champetre  we  see  Louis  xiv.  himself  dancing,  looking  so  like  an  old 
beau,  his  face  flushed  and  puckered  up  with  gay  anxiety ;  but  then 
the  satin  of  his  slashed  doublet  is  made  of  the  softest  leaves  of  the 
water-Uly ;  Zephyr  plays  wanton  with  the  curls  of  his  wig !  We 
have  nobody  who  could  produce  a  companion  to  this  picture  now : 
nor  do  we  very  devoutly  wish  it.  The  Louis  the  Fourteenths  are 
extinct,  and  we  suspect  their  revival  would  hardly  be  compensated 
even  by  the  re-appearance  of  a  Watteau. — No.  187,  the  Death  of 
Cardinal  Beaufort,  by  Sir  Joshua  Reynolds,  is  a  very  indifferent  and 
rather  unpleasant  sketch  of  a  very  fine  picture.  One  of  the  most 
delightful  things  in  this  delightful  collection  is  the  Portrait  (195)  of 
the  Prince  of  the  ylusturias,  by  Velasquez.  The  easy  lightness  of  the 
childish  Prince  contrasts  delightfully  with  the  unwieldy  figure  of 
the  horse,  which  has  evidently  been  brought  all  the  way  from  the 
Low  Countries  for  the  amusement  of  his  rider.  Velasquez  was 
(with  only  two  exceptions,  Titian  and  Vandyke)  as  fine  a  portrait- 
painter  as  ever  lived !  In  the  centre  room  also  is  the  Meeting  of 
Jacob  and  Rachel,  by  Murillo — a  sweet  picture  with  a  fresh  green 
landscape,  and  the  heart  of  Love  in  the  midst  of  it. — There  are 
several  heads  by  Holbein  scattered  up  and  down  the  different  com- 
partments. We  need  hardly  observe  that  they  all  have  character  in 
the  extreme,  so  that  we  may  be  said  to  be  acquainted  with  the  people 
they  represent ;  but  then  they  give  nothing  but  character,  and  only  one 
part  of  that,  w'z.  the  dry,  the  literal,  the  concrete,  and  fixed.  They 
want  the  addition  of  passion  and  beauty  ;  but  they  are  the  finest  caput 
mortuums  of  expression  that  ever  were  made.  Hans  Holbein  had 
none  of  the  volatile  essence  of  genius  in  his  composition.  If 
portrait-painting  is  the  prose  of  the  art,  his  pictures  are  the  prose 
of  portrait-painting.  Yet  he  is  '  a  reverend  name '  in  art,  and  one  of 
the  benefactors  of  the  human  mind.  He  has  left  faces  behind  him 
that  we  would  give  the  world  to  have  seen,  and  there  they  are — 
stamped  on  his  canvass  for  ever !  Who,  in  reading  over  the  names 
of  certain  individuals,  does  not  feel  a  yearning  in  his  breast  to  know 
their  features  and  their  lineaments  ?  We  look  through  a  small  frame, 
and  lo !  at  the  distance  of  three  centuries,  we  have  before  us  the 
figures  of  Anne  Boleyn,  of  the  virtuous  Cranmer,  the  bigotted  Queen 
Mary,  the  noble  Surrey — as  if  we  had  seen  them  in  their  life-time, 
not  perhaps  in  their  best  moods  or  happiest  attitudes,  but  as  they 

23 


THE  PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

sometimes  appeared,  no  doubt.  We  know  at  least  what  sort  of  looking 
people  they  were  :  our  minds  are  made  easy  on  that  score  ;  the  '  body 
and  limbs  '  are  there,  and  we  may  '  add  what  flourishes '  of  grace  or 
ornament  we  please.  Holbein's  heads  are  to  the  finest  portraits  what 
state-papers  are  to  history. 

The  first  picture  in  the  Fourth  Room  is  the  Prophet  Samuel,  by 
Sir  Joshua.  It  is  not  the  Prophet  Samuel,  but  a  very  charming 
picture  of  a  little  child  saying  its  prayers.  The  second  is.  The 
Education  of  Bacchus,  by  Nicholas  Poussin.  This  picture  makes  one 
thirsty  to  look  at  it — the  colouring  even  is  dry  and  adust.  It  is  true 
history  in  the  technical  phrase,  that  is  to  say,  true  poetry  in  the  vulgate. 
The  figure  of  the  infant  Bacchus  seems  as  if  he  would  drink  up  a 
vintage — he  drinks  with  his  mouth,  his  hands,  his  belly,  and  his 
whole  body.  Gargantua  was  nothing  to  him.  In  the  Education  of 
Jupiter,  in  like  manner,  we  are  thrown  back  into  the  infancy  of 
mythologic  lore.  The  little  Jupiter,  suckled  by  a  she-goat,  is 
beautifully  conceived  and  expressed ;  and  the  dignity  and  ascendancy 
given  to  these  animals  in  the  picture  is  wonderfully  happy.  They 
have  a  very  imposing  air  of  gravity  indeed,  and  seem  to  be  by  pre- 
scription '  grand  caterers  and  wet-nurses  of  the  state '  of  Heaven ! 
■Apollo  giving  a  Poet  a  Cup  of  Water  to  drink  is  elegant  and  classical ; 
and  The  Flight  into  Egypt  instantly  takes  the  tone  of  Scripture-history. 
This  is  strange,  but  so  it  is.  All  things  are  possible  to  a  high 
imagination.  All  things,  about  which  we  have  a  feeling,  may  be 
expressed  by  true  genius.  A  dark  landscape  (by  the  same  hand)  in 
a  corner  of  the  room  is  a  proof  of  this.  There  are  trees  in  the  fore- 
ground, with  a  paved  road  and  buildings  in  the  distance.  The 
Genius  of  antiquity  might  wander  here,  and  feel  itself  at  home. — 
The  large  leaves  are  wet  and  heavy  with  dew,  and  the  eye  dwells 
'under  the  shade  of  melancholy  boughs.'  In  the  old  collection  (in 
Mr.  Desenfans'  time)  the  Poussins  occupied  a  separated  room  by 
themselves,  and  it  was  (we  confess)  a  very  favourite  room  with  us. 
— No.  226,  is  a  Landscape,  by  Salvator  Rosa.  It  is  one  of  his  very 
best — rough,  grotesque,  wild — Pan  has  struck  it  with  his  hoof — the 
trees,  the  rocks,  the  fore-ground,  are  of  a  piece,  and  the  figures  are 
subordinate  to  the  landscape.  The  same  dull  sky  lowers  upon  the 
scene,  and  the  bleak  air  chills  the  crisp  surface  of  the  water.  It  is 
a  consolation  to  us  to  meet  with  a  fine  Salvator.  His  is  one  of  the 
great  names  in  art,  and  it  is  among  our  sources  of  regret  that  we 
cannot  always  admire  his  works  as  we  would  do,  from  our  respect  to 
his  reputation  and  our  love  of  the  man.  Poor  Salvator !  he  was 
unhappy  in  his  life-time ;  and  it  vexes  us  to  think  that  we  cannot 
make  him  amends  by  fancying  him  so  great  a  painter  as  some  others, 

24 


THE  DULWICH   GALLERY 

whose  fame  was  not  their  only  inheritance! — 227,  Venus  and  Cupid, 
is  a  delightful  copy  after  Correggio.  We  have  no  such  regrets  or 
qualms  of  conscience  with  respect  to  him.  '  He  has  had  his  reward.' 
The  weight  of  his  renown  balances  the  weight  of  barbarous  coin  that 
sunk  him  to  the  earth.  Could  he  live  now,  and  know  what  others 
think  of  him,  his  misfortunes  would  seem  as  dross  compared  with  his 
lasting  glory,  and  his  heart  would  melt  within  him  at  the  thought, 
with  a  sweetness  that  only  his  own  pencil  could  express.  233,  The 
Virgin,  Infant  Christ,  and  St.  John,  by  Andrea  del  Sarto,  is  exceed- 
ingly good. — 290,  Another  Holy  Family,  by  the  same,  is  an  admirable 
picture,  and  only  inferior  to  Raphael.  It  has  delicacy,  force, 
thought,  and  feeling.  '  What  lacks  it  then,'  to  be  equal  to  Raphael  ? 
We  hardly  know,  unless  it  be  a  certain  firmness  and  freedom,  and 
glowing  animation.  The  execution  is  more  timid  and  laboured.  It 
looks  like  a  picture  (an  exquisite  one,  indeed),  but  Raphael's  look 
like  the  divine  reality  itself! — No.  234,  Codes  defending  the  Bridge, 
is  by  Le  Bran.  We  do  not  like  this  picture,  nor  271,  The  Massacre 
of  the  Innocents,  by  the  same  artist.  One  reason  is  that  they  are 
French,  and  another  that  they  are  not  good.  They  have  great 
merit,  it  is  true,  but  their  merits  are  only  splendid  sins.  They 
are  mechanical,  mannered,  colourless,  and  unfeeling. — No.  237,  is 
Murillo's  Spanish  Girl  ivith  Flotvers.  The  sun  tinted  the  young 
gipsey's  complexion,  and  not  the  painter. — No.  240,  is  The  Casatella 
and  Villa  of  Mecenas,  near  Ti-voli,  by  Wilson,  with  his  own  portrait 
in  the  fore-ground.  It  is  an  imperfect  sketch  ;  but  there  is  a  curious 
anecdote  relating  to  it,  that  he  was  so  delighted  with  the  waterfall 
itself,  that  he  cried  out,  while  painting  it :  '  Well  done,  water,  by 
G — d!' — No.  243,  Saint  Cecilia,  by  Guercino,  is  a  very  pleasing 
picture,  in  his  least  gaudy  manner. — No.  251,  Venus  and  Adonis,  by 
Titian.  We  see  so  many  of  these  Venuses  and  Adonises,  that  we 
should  like  to  know  which  is  the  true  one.  This  is  one  of  the  best 
we  have  seen.  We  have  two  Francesco  Molas  in  this  room,  the 
Rape  of  Proserpine,  and  a  Landscape  with  a  Holy  Family.  This 
artist  dipped  his  pencil  so  thoroughly  in  Titian's  palette,  that  his 
works  cannot  fail  to  have  that  rich,  mellow  look,  which  is  always 
delightful. — No.  303,  Portrait  of  Philip  the  Fourth  of  Spain,  by 
Velasquez,  is  purity  and  truth  itself.  We  used  to  like  the  Sleeping 
Nymph,  by  Titian,  when  we  saw  it  formerly  in  the  little  entrance- 
room  at  Desenfans',  but  we  cannot  say  much  in  its  praise  here. 

The  Fifth  Room  is  the  smallest,'  but  the  most  precious  in  its 
contents. — No.  322,  Spanish  Beggar  Boys,  by  Murillo,  is  the 
triumph  of  this  Collection,  and  almost  of  painting.  In  the  imitation 
of  common  life,  nothing  ever  went  beyond  it,  or  as  far  as  we  can 

25 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

judge,  came  up  to  it.     A  Dutch  picture  is  mechanical,  and  mere 
still-life  to  it.     But  this  is  life  itself.     The  boy  at  play  on  the  ground 
is  miraculous.     It  is  done  with  a  few  dragging  strokes  of  the  pencil, 
and  with  a  little  tinge  of  colour ;  but  the  mouth,  the  nose,  the  eyes, 
the  chin,  are   as  brimful  as  they  can  hold  of  expression,  of  arch 
roguery,  of  animal  spirits,  of  vigorous,  elastic  health.     The  vivid, 
glowing,  cheerful  look  is  such  as  could  only  be  found  beneath   a 
southern  sun.     The  fens  and  dykes  of  Holland  (with  all  our  respect 
for  them)  could  never  produce  such  an  epitome  of  the  vital  principle. 
The  other  boy,  standing  up  with  the  pitcher  in  his  hand,  and  a  crust 
of    bread    in    his    mouth,    is    scarcely    less    excellent.      His    sulky, 
phlegmatic   indifference  speaks   for  itself.      The   companion  to  this 
picture,  324,  is  also  very  fine.     Compared  with  these  imitations  of 
nature,  as  faultless  as  they  are  spirited,  Murillo's  Virgins  and  Angels 
however  good  in  themselves,  look  vapid,  and  even  vulgar.     A   Child 
Sleeping,  by  the  same  painter,  is  a  beautiful  and  masterly  study. — 
No.  329,  a  Musical  Party,  hy  Giorgione,  is  well  worthy  of  the  notice 
of  the  connoisseur.      No.  331,  St.  John  Preaching  in  the  Wilderness, 
by  Guido,  is  an  extraordinary  picture,  and  very  unlike  this  painter  s 
usual  manner.     The  colour  is  as  if  the  flesh  had  been  stained  all  over 
with  brick-dust.      There  is,  however,  a   wildness    about   it  which 
accords  well  with  the  subject,  and  the  figure  of  St.  John  is  full  of 
grace  and  gusto. — No.  344,  The  Martyrdom  of  St.  Sebastian,  by  the 
same,  is  much  finer,  both  as  to  execution  and  expression.     The  face 
is  imbued  with  deep  passion. — No.  345,  Portrait  of  a  Man,  by  L.  da 
Vinci,  is  truly  simple  and  grand,  and  at  once  carries  you  back  to  that 
age. — Boors  Merry  Making,  by  Ostade,  is  fine ;  but  has  no  business 
where  it  is.     Yet  it  takes  up  very  little  room. — No.  347,  Portrait  of 
Mrs.   Siddons,  in  the  character  of  the   Tragic  Muse,   by   Sir  Joshua, 
appears  to  us  to  resemble  neither  Mrs.  Siddons,  nor  the  Tragic  Muse. 
It  is  in  a  bastard  style  of  art.     Sir  Joshua  had  an  importunate  theory 
of  improving    upon    nature.      He    might    improve    upon    indifferent 
nature,  but  when  he  had  got  the  finest,  he  thought  to  improve  upon 
that  too,  and  only  spoiled  it. — No.  349,  The  Virgin  and  Child,  by 
Correggio,  can  only  be  a  copy. — No.  332,  The  Judgment  of  Paris, 
by  Vanderwerf,  is  a  picture,  and  by  a  master,  that  we  hate.     He 
always  chooses  for  his  subjects  naked  figures  of  women,  and  tantalises 
us  by  making  them  of  coloured  ivory.     They  are  like  hard-ware  toys. 
— No.  354,  a  Cardinal  Blessing  a  Priest,  by  P.  Veronese,  is  dignified 
and  picturesque  in  the  highest  degree. — No.   355,  The  Adoration  of 
the  Shepherds,   by   Annibal   Caracci,   is   an   elaborate,   but  not  very 
successful    performance. — No.    356,    Christ   bearing    his    Cross,    by 
Morales,  concludes  the  list,  and  is  worthy  to  conclude  it. 
26 


THE   MARQUIS   OF  STAFFORD'S   GALLERY 


THE  MARQUIS  OF  STAFFORD'S  GALLERY 

Our  intercourse  with  the  dead  is  better  than  our  intercourse  with 
the  living.  Thgre_aTe_onl2_three_£leasures  in  life,  pure  and  lasting, 
and  all  derived  from  in^nimatejtiiings^-^^booEs,  pictures,  and"  the  "face 
ornature."'^Wtet"is"tEe  world  but  a  heap  of  ruined  friendships^'  but 
the  "grave  of  lovFt~rftlt"&ther  pleasures  are  as  false  and  hollow,  / 
vanishing  from  our  embrace  like  smoke,  or  like  a  feverish  dream.  r~ 
Scarcely  can  we  recollect  that  they  were,  or  recal  without  an  effort 
the  anxious  and  momentary  interest  we  took  in  them. — But  thou, 
oh!  divine  Bath  of  Diana,  with  deep  azure  eyes,  with  roseate  hues, 
spread  by  the  hand  of  Titian,  art  still  there  upon  the  wall,  another, 
yet  the  same  that  thou  wert  five-and-twenty  years  ago,  nor  wantest 

'  Forked  mountain  or  blue  promontory 

With  Trees  upon  't  that  nod  unto  the  world, 
And  mock  our  eyes  with  air  ! ' 

And  lo  !  over  the  clear  lone  brow  of  Tuderley  and  Norman  Court, 
knit  into  the  web  and  fibres  of  our  heart,  the  sighing  grove  waves  in 
the  autumnal  air,  deserted  by  Love,  by  Hope,  but  forever  haunted  by 
Memory!  And  there  that  fine  passage  stands  in  Antony  and 
Cleopatra  as  we  read  it  long  ago  with  exaulting  eyes  in  Paris,  after 
puzzling  over  a  tragedy  of  Racine's,  and  cried  aloud  :  '  Our  Shak- 
speare  was  also  a  poet !  '  These  feelings  are  dear  to  us  at  the  time  ; 
and  they  come  back  unimpaired,  heightened,  mellowed,  whenever  we 
choose  to  go  back  to  them.  We  turn  over  the  leaf  and  '  volume  of 
the  brain,'  and  there  see  them  face  to  face. — Marina  in  Pericles 
complains  that 

'  Life  is  as  a  storm  hurrying  her  from  her  friends  ! ' 

Not  so  from  the  friends  abovementioned.  If  we  bring  but  an  eye, 
an  understanding,  and  a  heart  to  them,  we  find  them  always  with  us, 
always  the  same.  The  change,  if  there  is  one,  is  in  us,  not  in  them. 
Oh  !  thou  then,  whoever  thou  art,  that  dost  seek  happiness  in  thyself, 
independent  on  others,  not  subject  to  caprice,  not  mocked  by  insult, 
not  snatched  away  by  ruthless  hands,  over  which  Time  has  no  power, 
and  that  Death  alone  cancels,  seek  it  (if  thou  art  wise)  in  books,  in 
pictures,  and  the  face  of  nature,  for  these  alone  we  may  count  upon 
as  friends  for  life !  (While  we  are  true  to  ourselves,  they  will  not  be 
faithless  to  us.  While  we  remember  any  thing,  we  cannot  forget 
them.  \A.s  long  as  we  have  a  wish  for  pleasure,  we  may  find  it  here ; 
for  it  depends  only  on  our  love  for  them,  and  not  on  theirs  for  us. 

27 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

The  enjoyment  is  purely  ideal,  and  is  refined,  unembittered,  unfading, 
for  that  reason. 

A  complaint  has  been  made  of  the  short-lived  duration  of  works 
of  art,  and  particularly  of  pictures ;  and  poets  more  especially  are  apt 
to  lament  and  to  indulge  in  an  elegiac  strain  over  the  fragile  beauties 
of  the  sister-art.  The  complaint  is  inconsiderate,  if  not  invidious. 
They  'will  last  our  time.  Nay,  they  have  lasted  centuries  before  us, 
and  will  last  centuries  after  us ;  and  even  when  they  are  no  more, 
will  leave  a  shadow  and  a  cloud  of  glory  behind  them,  through  all 
time.  Lord  Bacon  exclaims  triumphantly,  '  Have  not  the  poems  of 
Homer  lasted  five-and-twenty  hundred  years,  and  not  a  syllable  of 
them  is  lost  ? '  But  it  might  be  asked  in  return,  '  Have  not  many 
of  the  Greek  statues  now  lasted  almost  as  long,  without  losing  a 
particle  of  their  splendour  or  their  meaning,  while  the  Iliad  (except 
to  a  very  few)  has  become  almost  a  dead  letter  ? '  Has  not  the 
Venus  of  Medicis  had  almost  as  many  partisans  and  admirers  as  the 
Helen  of  the  old  blind  bard  ?  Besides,  what  has  Phidias  gained  in 
reputation  even  by  the  discovery  of  the  Elgin  Marbles  ?  Or  is  not 
Michael  Angelo's  the  greatest  name  in  modern  art,  whose  works  we 
only  know  from  description  and  by  report  ?  Surely,  there  is  some- 
thing in  a  name,  in  wide-spread  reputation,  in  endless  renown,  to 
satisfy  the  ambition  of  the  mind  of  man.  Who  in  his  works  would 
vie  immortality  with  nature  ?  An  epitaph,  an  everlasting  monument 
in  the  dim  remembrance  of  ages,  is  enough  below  the  skies.  More- 
over, the  sense  of  final  inevitable  decay  humanises,  and  gives  an 
affecting  character  to  the  triumphs  of  exalted  art.  Imperishable 
works  executed  by  perishable  hands  are  a  sort  of  insult  to  our  nature, 
and  almost  a  contradiction  in  terms.  They  are  ungrateful  children, 
and  mock  the  makers.  Neither  is  the  noble  idea  of  antiquity  legibly 
made  out  without  the  marks  of  the  progress  and  lapse  of  time.  That 
which  is  as  good  now  as  ever  it  was,  seems  a  thing  of  yesterday. 
Nothing  is  old  to  the  imagination  that  does  not  appear  to  grow  old. 
Ruins  are  grander  and  more  venerable  than  any  modern  structure  can 
be,  or  than  the  oldest  could  be  if  kept  in  the  most  entire  preservation. 
They  convey  the  perspective  of  time.  So  the  Elgin  Marbles  are 
more  impressive  from  their  mouldering,  imperfect  state.  They  trans- 
port us  to  the  Parthenon,  and  old  Greece.  The  Theseus  is  of  the 
age  of  Theseus :  while  the  Apollo  Belvidere  is  a  modern  fine  gentle- 
man ;  and  we  think  of  this  last  figure  only  as  an  ornament  to  the 

room  where  it  happens  to  be  placed We  conceive  that  those  are 

persons  of  narrow  minds  who  cannot  relish  an  author's  style  that 
smacks  of  time,  that  has  a  crust  of  antiquity  over  it,  like  that  which 
gathers  upon  old  wine.     These  sprinklings  of  archaisms  and  obsolete 

28 


THE   MARQUIS   OF  STAFFORD'S   GALLERY 

turns  of  expression  (so  abhorrent  to  the  fashionable  reader)  are 
intellectual  links  that  connect  the  generations  together,  and  enlarge 
our  knowledge  of  language  and  of  nature.  Of  the  two,  we  prefer 
black-letter  to  hot-pressed  paper.  Does  not  every  language  change 
and  wear  out  ?  Do  not  the  most  popular  writers  become  quaint  and 
old-fashioned  every  fifty  or  every  hundred  years  ?  Is  there  not  a 
constant  conflict  of  taste  and  opinion  between  those  who  adhere  to 
the  established  and  triter  modes  of  expression,  and  those  who  affect 
glossy  innovations,  in  advance  of  the  age  ?  It  is  pride  enough  for  the 
best  authors  to  have  been  read.  This  applies  to  their  own  country ; 
and  to  all  others,  they  are  '  a  book  sealed.'  But  Rubens  is  as  good 
in  Holland  as  he  is  in  Flanders,  where  he  was  born,  in  Italy  or  in 
Spain,  in  England,  or  in  Scotland — no,  there  alone  he  is  not  under- 
stood. The  Scotch  understand  nothing  but  what  is  Scotch.  What 
has  the  dry,  husky,  economic  eye  of  Scotland  to  do  with  the  florid 
hues  and  luxuriant  extravagance  of  Rubens  ?  Nothing.  They  like 
Wilkie's  ^flM^«r  style  better.  It  may  be  said  that  translations  remedy 
the  want  of  universality  of  language:  but  prints  give  (at  least)  as 
good  an  idea  of  pictures  as  translations  do  of  poems,  or  of  any  pro- 
ductions of  the  press  that  employ  the  colouring  of  style  and  imagina- 
tion. Gil  Bias  is  translateable ;  Racine  and  Rousseau  are  not.  The 
mere  English  student  knows  more  of  the  character  and  spirit  of 
Raphael's  pictures  in  the  Vatican,  than  he  does  of  Ariosto  or  Tasso 
from  Hoole's  Version.  There  is,  however,  one  exception  to  the 
catholic  language  of  painting,  which  is  in  French  pictures.  They 
are  national  fixtures,  and  ought  never  to  be  removed  from  the  soil  in 
which  they  grow.  They  will  not  answer  any  where  else,  nor  are 
they  worth  Custom-House  Duties.  Flemish,  Dutch,  Spanish,  Italian, 
are  all  good  and  intelligible  in  their  several  ways — we  know  what 
they  mean — they  require  no  interpreter :  but  the  French  painters  see 
nature  with  organs  and  with  minds  peculiarly  their  own.  One  must 
be  born  in  France  to  understand  their  painting,  or  their  poetry. 
Their  productions  in  art  are  either  literal,  or  extravagant — dry,  frigid 
facsimiles,  in  which  they  seem  to  take  up  nature  by  pin-points,  or  else 
vapid  distorted  caricatures,  out  of  all  rule  and  compass.  They  are, 
in  fact,  at  home  only  in  the  light  and  elegant ;  and  whenever  they 
attempt  to  add  force  or  solidity  (as  they  must  do  in  the  severer  pro- 
ductions of  the  pencil)  they  are  compelled  to  substitute  an  excess  of 
minute  industry  for  a  comprehension  of  the  whole,  or  make  a  desperate 
mechanical  effort  at  extreme  expression,  instead  of  giving  the  true, 
natural,  and  powerful  workings  of  passion.  Their  representations  of 
nature  are  meagre  skeletons,  that  bear  the  same  relation  to  the  ori- 
ginals that  botanical  specimens,  enclosed  in  a  portfolio,  flat,  dry,  hard, 

29 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

and  pithless,  do  to  flourishing  plants  and  shrubs.  Their  historical 
figures  are  painful  outlines,  or  graduated  elevations  of  the  common 
statues,  spiritless,  colourless,  motionless,  which  have  the  form,  but 
none  of  the  power  of  the  antique.  What  an  abortive  attempt  is  the 
Coronation  of  Napoleon,  by  the  celebrated  David,  lately  exhibited  in 
this  country  !  It  looks  like  a  finished  sign-post  painting — a  sea  of 
frozen  outlines. — Could  the  artist  make  nothing  of  '  the  foremost  man 
in  all  this  world,'  but  a  stiff,  upright  figure  ?  The  figure  and  attitude 
of  the  Empress  are,  however,  pretty  and  graceful ;  and  we  recollect 
one  face  in  profile,  of  an  ecclesiastic,  to  the  right,  with  a  sanguine 
look  of  health  in  the  complexion,  and  a  large  benevolence  of  soul. 
It  is  not  Monsieur  Talleyrand,  whom  the  late  Lord  Castlereagh 
characterised  as  a  worthy  man  and  his  friend.  His  Lordship  was 
not  a  physiognomist !  The  whole  of  the  shadowed  part  of  the 
picture  seems  to  be  enveloped  in  a  shower  of  blue  powder. — But  to 
make  amends  for  all  that  there  is  or  that  there  is  not  in  the  work, 
David  has  introduced  his  wife  and  his  two  daughters  ;  and  in  the 
Catalogue  has  given  us  the  places  of  abode,  and  the  names  of  the 
husbands  of  the  latter.  This  is  a  little  out  of  place :  yet  these  are 
the  people  who  laugh  at  our  blunders.  We  do  not  mean  to  extend 
the  above  sweeping  censure  to  Claude,  or  Poussin :  of  course  they 
are  excepted :  but  even  in  them  the  national  character  lurked  amidst 
unrivalled  excellence.  If  Claude  has  a  fault,  it  is  that  he  is  finical ; 
and  Poussin' s  figures  might  be  said  by  a  satirist  to  be  antique  puppets. 
To  proceed  to  our  task. — 

The  first  picture  that  struck  us  on  entering  the  Marquis  of 
Stafford's  Gallery  (a  little  bewildered  as  we  were  with  old  recollec- 
tions, and  present  objects)  was  the  Meeting  of  Christ  and  St.  John, 
one  of  Raphael's  master-pieces.  The  eager  '  child-worship '  of  the 
young  St.  John,  the  modest  retirement  and  dignified  sweetness  of 
the  Christ,  and  the  graceful,  matron-like  air  of  the  Virgin  bending 
over  them,  full  and  noble,  yet  feminine  and  elegant,  cannot  be  sur- 
passed. No  words  can  describe  them  to  those  who  have  not  seen 
the  picture : — the  attempt  is  still  vainer  to  those  who  have.  There 
is,  however,  a  very  fine  engraving  of  this  picture,  which  may  be  had 
for  a  trifling  sum. — No  glory  is  around  the  head  of  the  Mother,  nor 
is  it  needed  :  but  the  soul  of  the  painter  sheds  its  influence  over  it 
like  a  dove,  and  the  spirit  of  love,  sanctity,  beauty,  breathes  from  the 
divine  group.  There  are  four  Raphaels  (Holy  Families)  in  this 
collection,  two  others  by  the  side  of  this  in  his  early  more  precise  and 
affected  manner,  somewhat  faded,  and  a  small  one  of  the  Virgin, 
Sleeping  Jesus,  and  St.  John,  in  his  finest  manner.  There  is,  or  there 
was,   a  duplicate  of  this   picture   (of  which   the   engraving   is   also 

3° 


THE   MARQUIS  OF  STAFFORD'S  GALLERY 

common)  in  the  Louvre,  which  was  certainly  superior  to  the  one  at 
the  Marquis  of  Stafford's.  The  colouring  of  the  drapery  in  that  too 
was  cold,  and  the  face  of  the  Virgin  thin  and  poor ;  but  never  was 
infancy  laid  asleep  more  calmly,  more  sweetly,  more  soundly,  than  in 
the  figure  of  Our  Saviour — the  little  pouting  mouth  seemed  to  drink 
balmy,  innocent  sleep — and  the  rude  expression  of  wonder  and  delight 
in  the  more  robust,  sun-burnt,  fur-clad  figure  of  St.  John  was  as 
spirited  in  itself  as  it  was  striking,  when  contrasted  with  the  meeker 
beauties  of  the  figure  opposed  to  it. — From  these  we  turn  to  the 
Four  Ages,  by  Titian,  or  Giorgione,  as  some  say.  Strange  that 
there  should  have  lived  two  men  in  the  same  age,  on  the  same  spot  of 
earth,  with  respect  to  whom  it  should  bear  a  question — which  of 
them  painted  such  a  picture !  Barry,  we  remember,  and  Collins,  the 
miniature-painter,  thought  it  a  Giorgione,  and  they  were  considered 
two  of  the  best  judges  going,  at  the  time  this  picture  was  exhibited, 
among  others,  in  the  Orleans  Gallery.  We  cannot  pretend  to  decide 
on  such  nice  matters  ex  cathedra  ;  but  no  painter  need  be  ashamed  to 
own  it.  The  gradations  of  human  life  are  marked  with  characteristic 
felicity,  and  the  landscape,  which  is  thrown  in,  adds  a  pastoral  charm 
and  naivete  to  the  whole.  To  live  or  to  die  in  such  a  chosen,  still 
retreat  must  be  happy  ! — Certainly,  this  composition  suggests  a  beauti- 
ful moral  lesson ;  and  as  to  the  painting  of  the  group  of  children  in 
the  corner,  we  suppose,  for  careless  freedom  of  pencil,  and  a  certain 
milky  softness  of  the  flesh,  it  can  scarcely  be  paralleled.  Over  the 
three  Raphaels  is  a  Danae,  by  Annibal  Caracci,  which  we  used  to 
adore  where  it  was  hung  on  high  in  the  Orleans  Gallery.  The  face 
is  fine,  up-turned,  expectant ;  and  the  figure  no  less  fine,  desirable, 
ample,  worthy  of  a  God. — The  golden  shower  is  just  seen  descend- 
ing; the  landscape  at  a  distance  has  (so  fancy  might  interpret)  a 
cold,  shuddering  aspect.  There  is  another  very  fine  picture  of  the 
same  hand  close  by,  St.  Gregory  with  Angels.  It  is  diflicult  to  know 
which  to  admire  most,  the  resigned  and  yet  earnest  expression  of  the 
Saint,  or  the  elegant  forms,  the  graceful  attitudes,  and  bland,  cordial, 
benignant  faces  of  the  attendant  angels.  The  artist  in  these  last  has 
evidently  had  an  eye  to  Correggio,  both  in  the  waving  outline,  and  in 
the  charm  of  the  expression ;  and  he  has  succeeded  admirably,  but 
not  entirely.  Something  of  the  extreme  unction  of  Correggio  is 
wanting.  The  drawing  of  Annibal's  Angels  is,  perhaps,  too  firm, 
too  sinewy,  too  masculine.  In  Correggio,  the  Angel's  spirit  seemed 
to  be  united  to  a  human  body,  to  imbue,  mould,  penetrate  every  part 
with  its  sweetness  and  softness :  in  Caracci,  you  would  say  that  a 
heavenly  spirit  inhabited,  looked  out  of,  moved  a  goodly  human  frame, 
'  And  o'er-informed  the  tenement  of  clay.' 

31 


THE  PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

The  composition  of  this  picture  is  rather  forced  (it  was  one  of 
those  made  to  order  for  the  monks)  and  the  colour  is  somewhat 
metallic ;  but  it  has,  notwithstanding,  on  the  whole,  a  striking  and 
tolerably  harmonious  effect. — There  is  still  another  picture  by  Caracci 
(also  an  old  favourite  with  us,  for  it  was  in  the  Orleans  att)  Diana 
and  Nymphs  bathing,  with  the  story  of  Calisto.  It  is  one  of  his  very 
best,  with  something  of  the  drawing  of  the  antique,  and  the  landscape- 
colouring  of  Titian.  The  figures  are  all  heroic,  handsome,  such  as 
might  belong  to  huntresses,  or  Goddesses :  and  the  coolness  and 
seclusion  of  the  scene,  under  grey  over-hanging  cliffs,  and  brown 
overshadowing  trees,  with  all  the  richness  and  truth  of  nature,  have 
the  effect  of  an  enchanting  reality. — The  story  and  figures  are  more 
classical  and  better  managed  than  those  of  the  Diana  and  Calisto  by 
Titian ;  but  there  is  a  charm  in  that  picture  and  the  fellow  to  it,  the 
Diana  and  Act/ton,  (there  is  no  other  fellow  to  it  in  the  world!) 
which  no  words  can  convey.  It  is  the  charm  thrown  over  each  by 
the  greatest  genius  for  colouring  that  the  world  ever  saw.  It  is 
difficult,  nay,  impossible  to  say  which  is  the  finest  in  this  respect : 
but  either  one  or  the  other  (whichever  we  turn  to,  and  we  can  never 
be  satisfied  with  looking  at  either — so  rich  a  scene  do  they  unfold,  so 
serene  a  harmony  do  they  infiise  into  the  soul)  is  like  a  divine  piece 
of  music,  or  rises  '  like  an  exhalation  of  rich  distilled  perfumes.'  In 
the  figures,  in  the  landscape,  in  the  water,  in  the  sky,  there  are  tones, 
colours,  scattered  with  a  profuse  and  unerring  hand,  gorgeous,  but 
most  true,  dazzling  with  their  force,  but  blended,  softened,  woven 
together  into  a  woof  like  that  of  Iris — tints  of  flesh  colour,  as  if  you 
saw  the  blood  circling  beneath  the  pearly  skin ;  clouds  empurpled 
with  setting  suns ;  hills  steeped  in  azure  skies ;  trees  turning  to  a 
mellow  brown ;  the  cold  grey  rocks,  and  the  water  so  translucent, 
that  you  see  the  shadows  and  the  snowy  feet  of  the  naked  nymphs  in 
it.  With  all  this  prodigality  of  genius,  there  is  the  greatest  severity 
and  discipline  of  art.  The  figures  seem  grouped  for  the  effect  of 
colour — the  most  striking  contrasts  are  struck  out,  and  then  a  third 
object,  a  piece  of  drapery,  an  uplifted  arm,  a  bow  and  arrows,  a 
straggling  weed,  is  introduced  to  make  an  intermediate  tint,  or  carry 
on  the  harmony.  Every  colour  is  melted,  impasted  into  every  other, 
with  fine  keeping  and  bold  diversity.  Look  at  that  indignant,  queen- 
like figure  of  Diana  (more  perhaps  like  an  offended  mortal  princess, 
than  an  immortal  Goddess,  though  the  immortals  could  frown  and 
give  themselves  strange  airs),  and  see  the  snowy,  ermine-like  skin ; 
the  pale  clear  shadows  of  the  delicately  formed  back  ;  then  the  brown 
colour  of  the  slender  trees  behind  to  set  off  the  shaded  flesh  ;  and  last, 
the  dark  figure  of  the  Ethiopian  girl  behind,  completing  the  gradation. 

32 


THE   MARQUIS   OF  STAFFORD'S   GALLERY 

Then  the  bright  scarf  suspended  in  the  air  connects  itself  with  the 
glowing  clouds,  and  deepens  the  solemn  azure  of  the  sky  :  Actaeon's 
bow  and  arrows  fallen  on  the  ground  are  also  red ;  and  there  is  a 
little  flower  on  the  brink  of  the  Bath  which  catches  and  pleases  the 
eye,  saturated  with  this  colour.  The  yellowish  grey  of  the  earth 
purifies  the  low  tone  of  the  figures  where  they  are  in  half-shadow ; 
and  this  again  is  enlivened  by  the  leaden-coloured  fountain  of  the 
Bath,  which  is  set  off  (or  kept  down  in  its  proper  place)  by  the  blue 
vestments  strown  near  it.  The  figure  of  Actseon  is  spirited  and 
natural ;  it  is  that  of  a  bold  rough  hunter  in  the  early  ages,  struck 
with  surprise,  abashed  with  beauty.  The  forms  of  some  of  the 
female  figures  are  elegant  enough,  particularly  that  of  Diana  in  the 
story  of  Calisto ;  and  there  is  a  very  pretty-faced  girl  mischievously 
dragging  the  culprit  forward ;  but  it  is  the  texture  of  the  flesh  that  is 
throughout  delicious,  unrivalled,  surpassingly  fair.  The  landscape 
canopies  the  living  scene  with  a  sort  of  proud,  disdainful  conscious- 
ness. The  trees  nod  to  it,  and  the  hills  roll  at  a  distance  in  a  sea  of 
colour.  Every  where  tone,  not  form,  predominates — there  is  not  a 
distinct  line  in  the  picture — but  a  gusto,  a  rich  taste  of  colour  is  left 
upon  the  eye  as  if  it  were  the  palate,  and  the  diapason  of  picturesque 
harmony  is  full  to  overflowing.  '  Oh  Titian  and  Nature  !  which  of 
you  copied  the  other  ? ' 

We  are  ashamed  of  this  description,  now  that  we  have  made  it, 
and  heartily  wish  somebody  would  make  a  better.  There  is  another 
Titian  here  (which  was  also  in  the  Orleans  Gallery),^  Venus  rising 
from  the  sea.  The  figure  and  face  are  gracefully  designed  and  sweetly 
expressed : — whether  it  is  the  picture  of  the  Goddess  of  Love,  may 
admit  of  a  question ;  that  it  is  the  picture  of  a  lovely  woman  in  a 
lovely  attitude,  admits  of  none.  The  half-shadow  in  which  most  of 
it  is  painted,  is  a  kind  of  veil  through  which  the  delicate  skin  shows 
more  transparent  and  aerial.  There  is  nothing  in  the  picture  but  this 
single  exquisitely  turned  figure,  and  if  it  were  continued  downward 
to  a  whole-length,  it  would  seem  like  a  copy  of  a  statue  of  the  Goddess 
carved  in  ivory  or  marble ;  but  being  only  a  half-length,  it  has  not 
this  effect  at  all,  but  looks  like  an  enchanting  study,  or  a  part  of  a 
larger  composition,  selected  a  I'envie.  The  hair,  and  the  arm  holding 
it  up,  are  nearly  the  same  as  in  the  well-known  picture  of  Titian's 
Mistress,  and  as  delicious.  The  back-ground  is  beautifully  painted. 
We  said  before,  that  there  was  no  object  in  the  picture  detached 

1  Two  thirds  of  the  principal  pictures  in  the  Orleans  Collection  are  at  present  at 
Cleveland-House,  one  third  purchased  by  the  Marquis  of  Stafford,  and  another 
third  left  by  the  Duke  of  Bridgewater,  another  of  the  purchasers  Mr.  Brian  had 
the  remaining  third. 

VOL.  IX.  :  C  33 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   IN  ENGLAND 

from  the  principal  figure.  Nay,  there  is  the  sea,  and  a  sea-shell,  but 
these  might  be  given  in  sculpture. — Under  the  Venus,  is  a  portrait  by 
Vandyke,  of  Thomas  Howard,  Earl  of  Arundel,  a  most  gentleman- 
like performance,  mild,  clear,  intelligent,  unassuming ;  and  on  the 
right  of  the  spectator,  a  Madonna,  by  Guide,  with  the  icy  glow  of 
sanctity  upon  it ;  and  to  the  left,  the  Fable  of  Salmacis,  by  Albano 
(saving  the  ambiguity  of  the  subject),  exquisitely  painted.  Four 
finer  specimens  of  the  art  can  scarcely  be  found  again  in  so  small  a 
compass.  There  is  in  another  room  a  portrait,  said  to  be  by  Moroni, 
and  called  Titian's  School-master,  from  a  vague  tradition,  that  he 
was  in  the  habit  of  frequently  visiting,  in  order  to  study  and  learn 
from  it.  If  so,  he  must  have  profited  by  his  assiduity ;  for  it  looks 
as  if  he  had  painted  it.  Not  knowing  any  thing  of  Moroni,  if  we 
had  been  asked  who  had  done  it,  we  should  have  replied,  '  Either 
Titian  or  the  Devil.'  i  It  is  considerably  more  laboured  and  minute 
than  Titian ;  but  the  only  objection  at  all  staggering  is,  that  it  has 
less  fiery  animation  than  is  ordinarily  to  be  found  in  his  pictures. 
Look  at  the  portrait  above  it,  for  instance — Clement  vii.  by  the  great 
Venetian ;  and  you  find  the  eye  looking  at  you  again,  as  if  it  had 
been  observing  you  all  the  time :  but  the  eye  in  Titian's  School-master 
is  an  eye  to  look  at,  not  to  look  luith,'^  or  if  it  looks  at  you,  it  does  not 
look  through  you,  which  may  be  almost  made  a  test  of  Titian's  heads. 
There  is  not  the  spirit,  the  intelligence  within,  moulding  the  expres- 
sion, and  giving  it  intensity  of  purpose  and  decision  of  character.  In 
every  other  respect  but  this  (and  perhaps  a  certain  want  of  breadth) 
it  is  as  good  as  Titian.  There  is  (we  understand)  a  half-length  of 
Clement  vii.  by  Julio  Romano,  in  the  Papal  Palace  at  Rome,  in 
which  he  is  represented  as  seated  above  the  spectator,  with  the  head 
elevated  and  the  eye  looking  down  like  a  camel's,  with  an  amazing 
dignity  of  aspect.  The  picture  (Mr.  Northcote  says)  is  hard  and 
ill-coloured,  but,  in  strength  of  character  and  conception,  superior  to 
the  Titian  at  the  Marquis  of  Stafford's.  Titian,  undoubtedly,  put  a 
good  deal  of  his  own  character  into  his  portraits.  He  was  not  him- 
self filled  with  the  '  milk  of  human  kindness.'  He  got  his  brother, 
who  promised  to  rival  him  in  his  own  art,  and  of  whom  he  was 
jealous,  sent  on  a  foreign  embassy  ;  and  he  so  frightened  Pordenone 
while  he  was  painting  an  altar-piece  for  a  church,  that  he  worked 
with  his  palette  and  brushes  in  his  hand,  and  a  sword  by  his  side. 

We  meet  with  one  or  two  admirable  portraits,  particularly  No.  112, 
by  Tintoretto,  which  is  of  a  fine  fleshy  tone,  and  A  Doge  of  Venice, 

1  'Aut  Erasmus  aut  Diabolus.'     Sir  Thomas  More's  exclamation  on  meeting 
with  the  philosopher  of  Rotterdam. 

^  The  late  Mr.  Curran  described  John  Kemble's  eye  in  these  words. 
34 


THE   MARQUIS   OF  STAFFORD'S   GALLERY 

by  Palma  Vecchio,  stamped  with  an  expressive  look  of  official  and 
assumed  dignity.  There  is  a  Bassan,  No,  95,  The  Circumcision,  the 
colours  of  which  are  somewhat  dingy  with  age,  and  sunk  into  the 
canvas  ;  but  as  the  sun  shone  upon  it  while  we  were  looking  at  it,  it 
glittered  all  green  and  gold.  Bassan's  execution  is  as  fine  as  possible, 
and  his  colouring  has  a  most  striking  harmonious  effect. — We  must 
not  forget  the  Muleteers,  supposed  to  be  by  Correggio,  in  which  the 
figure  of  the  Mule  seems  actually  passing  across  the  picture  (you  hear 
his  bells)  ;  nor  the  little  copy  of  his  Marriage  of  St.  Catherine,  by 
L.  Caracci,  which  is  all  over  grace,  delicacy,  and  sweetness.  Any 
one  may  judge  of  his  progress  in  a  taste  for  the  refinements  of  art,  by 
his  liking  for  this  picture.  Indeed,  Correggio  is  the  very  essence  of 
refinement.  Among  other  pictures  in  the  Italian  division  of  the 
gallery,  we  would  point  out  the  Claudes  (particularly  Nos.  43  and 
50,)  which,  though  inferior  to  Mr.  Angerstein's  as  compositions, 
preserve  more  of  the  delicacy  of  execution,  (or  what  Barry  used  to 
call  'the  Jme  oleaginous  touches  of  Claude' ) — two  small  Caspar 
Poussins,  in  which  the  landscape  seems  to  have  been  just  washed  by 
a  shower,  and  the  storm  blown  over — the  Death  of  Adonis,  by  Luca 
Cambiasi,  an  Orleans  picture,  lovely  in  sorrow,  and  in  speechless 
agony,  and  faded  like  the  life  that  is  just  expiring  in  it — a  Joseph  and 
Potiphar's  Wife,  by  Alessandro  Veronese,  a  very  clever,  and  sensible, 
but  rigidly  painted  picture  * — an  Albert  Durer,  the  Death  of  the 
Vir^n — a  Female  head,  by  Leonardo  da  Vinci — and  the  Woman  taken 
in  Adultery,  by  Pordenone,  which  last  the  reader  may  admire  or  not, 
as  he  pleases.  We  cannot  close  this  list  without  referring  to  the 
Christ  bearing  his  cross,  by  Domenichino,  a  picture  full  of  interest 
and  skill ;  and  the  little  touching  allegory  of  the  Infant  Christ 
sleeping  on  a  cross,  by  Guido. 

The  Dutch  School  contains  a  number  of  excellent  specimens  of 
the  best  masters.  There  are  two  Tenierses,  a  Fair,  and  Boors 
merry-making,  unrivalled  for  a  look  of  the  open  air,  for  lively  awk- 
ward gesture,  and  variety  and  grotesqueness  of  grouping  and  rustic 
character.  There  is  a  little  picture,  by  Le  Nain,  called  the  Village 
Minstrel,  with  a  set  of  youthful  auditors,  the  most  incorrigible  little 
mischievous  urchins  we  ever  saw,  but  with  admirable  execution  and 
expression.  The  Metzus  are  curious  and  fine — the  Ostades  admir- 
able. Gerard  Douw's  own  portrait  is  certainly  a  gem.  We  noticed 
a  Ruysdael  in  one  corner  of  the  room  (No.  221),  a  dark,  flat, 
wooded  country,  but  delectable  in  tone  and  pencilling.  Vandevelde's 
Sea-pieces  are  capital — the  water  is  smooth  as  glass,  and  the  boats 
and  vessels  have  the  buoyancy  of  butterflies  on  it.  The  Sear-port,  by 
'  It  is  said  in  the  catalogue  to  be  painted  on  touch-stone, 

35 


THE  PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

A.  Cuyp,  is  miraculous  for  truth,  brilliancy,  and  clearness,  almost 
beyond  actual  water.  These  cannot  be  passed  over ;  but  there  is  a 
little  picture  which  we  beg  to  commend  to  the  gentle  reader,  the 
Vangoyen,  at  the  end  of  the  room,  No.  156,  which  has  that  yellow- 
tawny  colour  in  the  meads,  and  that  grey  chill  look  in  the  old 
conyent,  that  give  one  the  precise  feeling  of  a  mild  day  towards  the 
end  of  winter,  in  a  humid,  marshy  country.  We  many  years  ago 
copied  a  Vangoyen,  a  view  of  a  Canal  *  with  yellow  tufted  banks  and 
gliding  sail,'  modestly  pencilled,  truly  felt — and  have  had  an  affection 
for  him  ever  since.  There  is  a  small  inner  room  with  some  most 
respectable  modern  pictures.  Wilkie's  Breakfast -^able  is  among 
them. 

The  Sacraments,  by  N.  Poussin,  occupy  a  separate  room  by  them- 
selves, and  have  a  grand  and  solemn  effect ;  but  we  could  hardly  see 
them  where  they  are ;  and  in  general,  we  prefer  his  treatment  of 
light  and  classical  subjects  to  those  of  sacred  history.  He  wanted 
•weight  for  the  last ;  or,  if  that  word  is  objected  to,  we  will  change 
it,  and  S3.j  force. 

On  the  whole,  the  Stafford  Gallery  is  probably  the  most  magni- 
ficent Collection  this  country  can  boast.  The  specimens  of  the 
different  schools  are  as  numerous  as  they  are  select ;  and  they  are 
equally  calculated  to  delight  the  student  by  the  degree,  or  to  inform 
the  uninitiated  by  the  variety  of  excellence.  Yet  even  this  Collection 
is  not  complete.  It  is  deficient  in  Rembrandts,  Vandykes,  and 
Rubenses ;  except  one  splendid  allegory  and  fruit-piece  by  the  last. 


THE  PICTURES  AT  WINDSOR  CASTLE 

The  palaces  of  Windsor  and  Hampton-court  contain  pictures 
worthy  of  the  feelings  we  attach  to  the  names  of  those  places.  The 
first  boasts  a  number  of  individual  pictures  of  great  excellence  and 
interest,  and  the  last  the  Cartoons. 

Windsor  Castle  is  remarkable  in  many  respects.  Its  tall,  grey, 
square  towers,  seated  on  a  striking  eminence,  overlook  for  many  miles 
the  subjacent  country,  and,  eyed  in  the  distance,  lead  the  mind  of  the 
solitary  traveller  to  romantic  musing ;  or,  approached  nearer,  give  the 
heart  a  quicker  and  stronger  pulsation.  Windsor,  besides  its  pictu- 
resque, commanding  situation,  and  its  being  the  only  palace  in  the 
kingdom  fit  for  the  receptacle  of '  a  line  of  kings,'  is  the  scene  of 
many  classical  associations.  Who  can  pass  through  Datchet,  and  the 
neighbouring  greensward  paths,  and  not  think  of  FalstafF,  of  Ann 
Page,  and  the  oak  of  Heme  the  hunter  ?     Or  if  he  does  not,  still  he 

36 


THE   PICTURES  AT   WINDSOR  CASTLE 

is  affected  by  them  as  if  he  did.  The  tall  slim  deer  glance  startled 
by,  in  some  neglected  track  of  memory,  and  fairies  trip  it  in  the 
unconscious  haunts  of  the  imagination  !  Pope's  lines  on  Windsor 
Forest  also  suggest  themselves  to  the  mind  in  the  same  way,  and 
make  the  air  about  it  delicate.  Gray  has  consecrated  the  same  spot 
by  his  Ode  on  a  Distant  Prospect  of  Eton  College ;  and  the  finest 
passage  in  Burke's  writings  is  his  comparison  of  the  British  Monarchy 
to  '  the  proud  Keep  of  Windsor.'  The  walls  and  massy  towers  of 
Windsor  Castle  are  indeed  built  of  solid  stone,  weather-beaten,  time- 
proof;  but  the  image  answering  to  them  in  the  mind's  eye  is  woven  of 
pure  thought  and  the  airy  films  of  the  imagination — Arachne's  web 
not  finer  1 

The  rooms  are  chill  and  comfortless  at  this  time  of  the  year,'  and 
gilded  ceilings  look  down  on  smoky  fire-places.  The  view  from  the 
windows,  too,  which  is  so  rich  and  glowing  in  the  summer-time,  is 
desolate  and  deformed  with  the  rains  overflowing  the  marshy  grounds. 
As  to  physical  comfort,  one  seems  to  have  no  more  of  it  in  these 
tapestried  halls  and  on  marble  floors,  than  the  poor  bird  driven  before 
the  pelting  storm,  or  the  ploughboy  seeking  shelter  from  the  drizzling 
sky,  in  his  sheepskin  jacket  and  clouted  shoes,  beneath  the  dripping, 
leafless  spray.  The  palace  does  not  (more  than  the  hovel)  always 
defend  us  against  the  winter's  cold.  The  apartments  are  also  filled 
with  too  many  rubbishly  pictures  of  kings  and  queens — there  are  too 
many  of  Verrio's  paintings,  and  a  whole  roomful  of  West's  ;  but 
there  are  ten  or  twenty  pictures  which  the  eye,  having  once  seen, 
never  loses  sight  of,  and  that  make  Windsor  one  of  the  retreats  and 
treasuries  of  art  in  this  country.  These,  however,  are  chiefly  pictures 
which  have  a  personal  and  individual  interest  attached  to  them,  as  we 
have  already  hinted :  there  are  very  few  historical  compositions  of 
any  value,  and  the  subjects  of  the  others  are  so  desultory  that  the 
young  person  who  shows  them,  and  goes  through  the  names  of  the 
painters  and  portraits  very  correctly,  said  she  very  nearly  went  out  of 
her  mind  in  the  three  weeks  she  was  '  studying  her  part.'  It  is  a 
matter  of  nomenclature :  we  hope  we  shall  make  as  few  blunders  in 
our  report  as  she  did. 

In  the  first  room  the  stranger  is  shown  into,  there  are  two  large 
landscapes  by  Zuccarelli.  They  are  clever,  well-painted  pictures ; 
but  they  are  worth  nothing.  The  fault  of  this  artist  is,  that  there  is 
nothing  absolutely  good  or  bad  in  his  pictures.  They  are  mere 
handicraft.  The  whole  is  done  with  a  certain  mechanical  ease  and 
indifference ;  but  it  is  evident  no  part  of  the  picture  gave  him  any 
pleasure,  and  it  is  impossible  it  should  give  the  spectator  any.  His 
'  Written  in  February,  1823, 

37 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

only  ambition  was  to  execute  his  task,  so  as  to  save  his  credit ;  and 
your  first  impulse  is,  to  turn  away  from  the  picture,  and  save  your 
time. 

In  the  next  room,  there  are  four  Vandykes — two  of  them  excellent. 
One  is  the  Duchess  of  Richmond,  a  whole-length,  in  a  white  satin 
drapery,  with  a  pet  lamb.  The  expression  of  her  face  is  a  little 
sullen  and  capricious.  The  other,  the  Countess  of  Carlisle,  has  a 
shrewd,  clever,  sensible  countenance ;  and,  in  a  certain  archness  of 
look,  and  the  contour  of  the  lower  part  of  the  face,  resembles  the  late 
Mrs.  Jordan. — Between  these  two  portraits  is  a  copy  after  Rembrandt, 
by  Gainsborough,  a  fine  sombre,  mellow  head,  with  the  hat  flapped 
over  the  face. 

Among  the  most  delightful  and  interesting  of  the  pictures  in  this 
Collection,  is  the  portrait  by  Vandyke,  of  Lady  Venetia  Digby.  It 
is  an  allegorical  composition :  but  what  truth,  what  purity,  what 
delicacy  in  the  execution  !  You  are  introduced  into  the  presence  of 
a  beautiful  woman  of  quality  of  a  former  age,  and  it  would  be  next  to 
impossible  to  perform  an  unbecoming  action  with  that  portrait  hanging 
in  the  room.  It  has  an  air  of  nobility  about  it,  a  spirit  of  humanity 
within  it.  There  is  a  dove-like  innocence  and  softness  about  the 
eyes ;  in  the  clear,  delicate  complexion,  health  and  sorrow  contend 
for  the  mastery ;  the  mouth  is  sweetness  itself,  the  nose  highly 
intelligent,  and  the  forehead  is  one  of  '  clear-spirited  thought.'  But 
misfortune  has  touched  all  this  grace  and  beauty,  and  left  its  canker 
there.  This  is  shown  no  less  by  the  air  that  pervades  it,  than  by  the 
accompanying  emblems.  The  children  in  particular  are  exquisitely 
painted,  and  have  an  evident  reference  to  those  we  lately  noticed  in 
the  Four  Ages,  by  Titian.  This  portrait,  both  from  the  style  and 
subject,  reminds  one  forcibly  of  Mrs.  Hutchinson's  admirable 
Memoirs  of  her  own  Life.  Both  are  equally  history,  and  the  history 
of  the  female  heart  (depicted,  in  the  one  case,  by  the  pencil,  in  the 
other,  by  the  pen)  in  the  finest  age  of  female  accomplishment  and 
pious  devotion.  Look  at  this  portrait,  breathing  the  beauty  of  virtue, 
and  compare  it  with  the  'Beauties'  of  Charles  ii.'s  court,  by  Leiy. 
They  look  just  like  what  they  were — a  set  of  kept-mistresses,  painted, 
tawdry,  showing  off  their  theatrical  or  meretricious  airs  and  graces, 
without  one  trace  of  real  elegance  or  refinement,  or  one  spark  of 
sentiment  to  touch  the  heart.  Lady  Grammont  is  the  handsomest  of 
them ;  and,  though  the  most  voluptuous  in  her  attire  and  attitude, 
the  most  decent.  The  Duchess  of  Portsmouth,  in  her  helmet  and 
plumes,  looks  quite  like  a  heroine  of  romance  or  modern  Amazon ; 
but  for  an  air  of  easy  assurance,  inviting  admiration,  and  alarmed  at 
nothing  but  being  thought  coy,  commend  us  to  my  lady above,- 

38 


THE   PICTURES   AT  WINDSOR  CASTLE 

in  the  sky-blue  drapery,  thrown  carelessly  across  her  shoulders  !  As 
paintings,  these  celebrated  portraits  cannot  rank  very  high.  They 
have  an  affected  ease,  but  a  real  hardness  of  manner  and  execution  ; 
and  they  have  that  contortion  of  attitude  and  setness  of  features  which 
we  afterwards  find  carried  to  so  disgusting  and  insipid  an  excess  in 
Kneller's  portraits.  Sir  Peter  Lely  was,  however,  a  better  painter 
than  Sir  Godfrey  Kneller — that  is  the  highest  praise  that  can  be 
accorded  to  him.  He  had  more  spirit,  more  originality,  and  was  the 
livelier  coxcomb  of  the  two  !  Both  these  painters  possessed  consider- 
able mechanical  dexterity,  but  it  is  not  of  a  refined  kind.  Neither  of 
them  could  be  ranked  among  great  painters,  yet  they  were  thought  by 
their  contemporaries  and  themselves  superior  to  every  one.  At  the 
distance  of  a  hundred  years  we  see  the  thing  plainly  enough. 

In  the  same  room  with  the  portrait  of  Lady  Digby,  there  is  one 
of  Killigrew  and  Carew,  by  the  same  masterly  hand.  There  is  spirit 
and  character  in  the  profile  of  Carew,  while  the  head  of  Killigrew  is 
surprising  from  its  composure  and  sedateness  of  aspect.  He  was  one 
of  the  grave  wits  of  the  day,  who  made  nonsense  a  profound  study, 
and  turned  trifles  into  philosophy,  and  philosophy  into  a  jest.  The 
pale,  sallow  complexion  of  this  head  is  throughout  in  wonderful  keep- 
ing. The  beard  and  face  seem  nearly  of  the  same  colour.  We  often 
see  this  clear  uniform  colour  of  the  skin  in  Titian's  portraits.  But 
then  the  dark  eyes,  beard,  and  eye-brows,  give  relief  and  distinctness. 
The  fair  hair  and  complexions,  that  Vandyke  usually  painted,  with 
the  almost  total  absence  of  shade  from  his  pictures,  made  the  task 
more  difficult ;  and,  indeed,  the  prominence  and  effect  he  produces  in 
this  respect,  without  any  of  the  usual  means,  are  almost  miraculous. 

There  are  several  of  his  portraits,  equestrian  and  others,  of  Charles 
I.  in  this  Collection,  some  of  them  good,  none  of  them  first-rate. 
Those  of  Henrietta  (his  Queen)  are  always  delightful.  The  painter 
has  made  her  the  most  lady-like  of  Queens,  and  of  women. 

The  family  picture  of  the  Children  of  Charles  i.  is  certainly 
admirably  painted  and  managed.  The  large  mastiff-dog  is  inimitably 
fine  and  true  to  nature,  and  seems  as  if  he  was  made  to  be  pulled 
about  by  a  parcel  of  royal  infants  from  generation  to  generation.  In 
general,  it  may  be  objected  to  Vandyke's  dressed  children,  that  they 
look  like  little  old  men  and  women.  His  grown-up  people  had  too 
much  stiffness  and  formality  ;  and  the  same  thing  must  quite  overlay 
the  playfulness  of  infancy.  Yet  what  a  difference  between  these 
young  princes  of  the  House  of  Stuart,  and  two  of  the  princes  of  the 
reigning  family  with  their  mother,  by  Ramsay,  which  are  evident 
likenesses  to  this  hour  ! 

We  have  lost  our  reckoning  as  to  the  order  of  the  pictures  and 

39 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

rooms  in  which  they  are  placed,  and  must  proceed  promiscuously 
through  the  remainder  of  our  Catalogue. 

One  of  the  most  noted  pictures  at  Windsor  is  that  of  the  Misers, 
by  Quintin  Matsys.  Its  name  is  greater  than  its  merits,  like  many 
other  pictures  which  have  a  lucky  or  intelligible  subject,  boldly 
executed.  The  conception  is  good,  the  colouring  bad ;  the  drawing 
firm,  and  the  expression  coarse  and  obvious.  We  are  sorry  to  speak 
at  all  disparagingly  of  Quintin  Matsys  ;  for  the  story  goes  that  he  was 
originally  bred  a  blacksmith,  and  turned  painter  to  gain  his  master's 
daughter,  who  would  give  her  hand  to  no  one  but  on  that  condition. 
Happy  he  who  thus  gained  the  object  of  his  love,  though  posterity 
may  differ  about  his  merits  as  an  artist !  Yet  it  is  certain,  that  any 
romantic  incident  of  this  kind,  connected  with  a  well-known  work, 
inclines  us  to  regard  it  with  a  favourable  instead  of  a  critical  eye,  by 
enhancing  our  pleasure  in  it ;  as  the  eccentric  character,  the  wild 
subjects,  and  the  sounding  name  of  Salrator  Rosa  have  tended  to  lift 
him  into  the  highest  rank  of  fame  among  painters. 

In  the  same  room  with  the  Misers,  by  the  Blacksmith  of  Antwerp, 
is  a  very  different  picture  by  Titian,  consisting  of  two  figures  also, 
viz.  Himself  and  a  Venetian  Senator.  It  is  one  of  the  finest  speci- 
mens of  this  master.  His  own  portrait  is  not  much  :  it  has  spirit,  but 
is  hard,  with  somewhat  of  a  vulgar,  knowing  look.  But  the  head  of 
the  Senator  is  as  fine  as  anything  that  ever  proceeded  from  the  hand 
of  man.  The  expression  is  a  lambent  flame,  a  soul  of  fire  dimmed, 
not  quenched  by  age.  The  flesh  is  flesh.  If  Rubens's  pencil  fed 
upon  roses,  Titian's  was  carnivorous.  The  tone  is  betwixt  a  gold  and 
silver  hue.  The  texture  and  pencilling  are  marrowy.  The  dress  is 
a  rich  crimson,  which  seems  to  have  been  growing  deeper  ever  since 
it  was  painted.  It  is  a  front  view.  As  far  as  attitude  or  action  is 
concerned,  it  is  mere  still-life ;  but  the  look  is  of  that  kind  that  goes 
through  you  at  a  single  glance.  Let  any  one  look  well  at  this 
portrait,  and  if  he  then  sees  nothing  in  it,  or  in  the  portraits  of  this 
painter  in  general,  let  him  give  up  virtu  and  criticism  in  despair. 

This  room  is  rich  in  valuable  gems,  which  might  serve  as  a  test  of 
a  real  taste  for  the  art,  depending  for  their  value  on  intrinsic  qualities, 
and  not  on  imposing  subjects,  or  mechanical  arrangement  or  quantity. 
As  where  '  the  still,  small  voice  of  reason '  is  wanting,  we  judge  of 
actions  by  noisy  success  and  popularity ;  so  where  there  is  no  true 
moral  sense  in  art,  nothing  goes  down  but  pomp,  and  bustle,  and  pre- 
tension. The  eye  of  taste  looks  to  see  if  a  work  has  nature's  finest 
image  and  superscription  upon  it,  and  for  no  other  title  and  passport  to 
fame.  There  is  a  Toung  Man's  Head,  (we  believe  in  one  corner  of 
this    room)   by   Holbein,   in   which    we   can  read  high  and   heroic 

40 


THE   PICTURES  AT  WINDSOR  CASTLE 

thoughts  and  resolutions,  better  than  in  any  Continence  of  Scipio  we 
ever  saw,  or  than  in  all  the  Battles  of  Alexander  thrown  into  a  lump. 
There  is  a  Portrait  of  Erasmus,  by  the  same,  and  in  the  same  or  an 
adjoining  room,  in  which  we  see  into  the  mind  of  a  scholar  and  of  an 
amiable  man,  as  through  a  window.  There  is  a  Headhy  Parmegiano, 
lofty,  triumphant,  showing  the  spirit  of  another  age  and  clime — one 
by  Raphael,  studious  and  self-involved — another,  said  to  be  by 
Leonardo  da  Vinci  (but  more  like  Holbein)  grown  crabbed  with  age 
and  thought — and  a  girl  reading,  by  Correggio,  intent  on  her  subject, 
and  not  forgetting  herself.  These  are  the  materials  of  history  ;  and 
if  it  is  not  made  of  them,  it  is  a  nickname  or  a  mockery.  All  that 
does  not  lay  open  the  fine  net-work  of  the  heart  and  brain  of  man, 
that  does  not  make  us  see  deeper  into  the  soul,  is  but  the  apparatus 
and  machinery  of  history-painting,  and  no  more  to  it  than  the  frame  is 
to  the  picture. 

We  noticed  a  little  Mater  Dolorosa  in  one  of  the  rooms,  by  Carlo 
Dolci,  which  is  a  pale,  pleasing,  expressive  head.  There  are  two 
large  figures  of  his,  a  Magdalen  and  another,  which  are  in  the  very 
falsest  style  of  colouring  and  expression  ;  and  Touth  and  Age,  by 
Denner,  which  are  in  as  perfectly  bad  a  taste  and  style  of  execution 
as  anything  we  ever  saw  of  this  artist,  who  was  an  adept  in  that  way. 

We  are  afraid  we  have  forgotten  one  or  two  meritorious  pictures 
which  we  meant  to  notice.  There  is  one  we  just  recollect,  a  Portrait 
of  a  Touth  in  black,  by  Parmegiano.  It  is  in  a  singular  style,  but 
very  bold,  expressive,  and  natural.  There  is  (in  the  same  apartment 
of  the  palace)  a  fine  picture  of  the  Battle  of  Norlingen,  by  Rubens. 
The  size  and  spirit  of  the  horses  in  the  fore-ground,  and  the  obvious 
animation  of  the  riders,  are  finely  contrasted  with  the  airy  perspective 
and  mechanical  grouping  of  the  armies  at  a  distance  ;  and  so  as  to 
prevent  that  confusion  and  want  of  positive  relief,  which  usually 
pervade  Battle-pieces.  In  the  same  room  (opposite)  is  Kneller's 
Chinese  converted  to  Christianity — a  portrait  of  which  he  was  justly 
proud.  It  is  a  fine  oil-picture,  clear,  tawny,  without  trick  or  affecta- 
tion, and  full  of  character.  One  of  Kneller's  fine  ladies  or  gentlemen, 
with  their  wigs  and  toupees,  would  have  been  mortally  offended  to 
have  been  so  painted.  The  Chinese  retains  the  same  oily  sly  look, 
after  his  conversion  as  before,  and  seems  just  as  incapable  of  a 
change  of  religion  as  a  piece  of  terra  cotta.  On  each  side  of  this 
performance  are  two  Guidos,  the  Perseus  and  Andromeda,  and  Venus 
attired  by  the  Graces.  We  give  the  preference  to  the  former.  The 
Andromeda  is  a  fine,  noble  figure,  in  a  striking  and  even  daring  posi- 
tion, with  an  impassioned  and  highly-wrought  expression  of  features  ; 
and  the  whole  scene   is   in   harmony  with  the  subject.     The  Venus 

41 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

attired  by  the  Graces  (though  fall  of  beauties,  particularly  the  colouring 
of  the  flesh  in  the  frail  Goddess)  is  formal  and  disjointed  in  the  com- 
position ;  and  some  of  the  actions  are  void  of  grace  and  even  of 
decorum.  We  allude  particularly  to  the  Matd-in-'waiting,  who  is 
combing  her  hair,  and  to  the  one  tying  on  her  sandals,  with  her  arm 
crossing  Venus's  leg  at  right  angles.  The  Cupid  in  the  window  is  as 
light  and  wanton  as  a  butterfly  flying  out  of  it.  He  may  be  said  to 
flutter  and  hover  in  his  own  delights.  There  are  two  capital 
engravings  of  these  pictures  by  Strange. 


THE  PICTURES  AT  HAMPTON  COURT 

This  palace  is  a  very  magnificent  one,  and  we  think,  has  been 
undeservedly  neglected.  It  is  Dutch-built,  of  handsome  red  brick, 
and  belongs  to  a  class  of  houses,  the  taste  for  which  appears  to  have 
been  naturalised  in  this  country  along  with  the  happy  introduction  of 
the  Houses  of  Orange  and  Hanover.  The  approach  to  it  through 
Bushy-Park  is  delightful,  inspiriting  at  this  time  of  year ;  and  the 
gardens  about  it,  with  their  close-clipped  holly  hedges  and  arbours 
of  evergreen,  look  an  artificial  summer  all  the  year  round.  The 
statues  that  are  interspersed  do  not  freeze  in  winter,  and  are  cool 
and  classical  in  the  warmer  seasons.  The  Toy-Inn  stands  opportunely 
at  the  entrance,  to  invite  the  feet  of  those  who  are  tired  of  a  straggling 
walk  from  Brentford  or  Kew,  or  oppressed  with  thought  and  wonder 
after  seeing  the  Cartoons. 

Besides  these  last,  however,  there  are  several  fine  pictures  here. 
We  shall  pass  over  the  Knellers,  the  Verrios,  and  the  different 
portaits  of  the  Royal  Family,  and  come  at  once  to  the  Nine  Muses, 
by  Tintoret.  Or  rather,  his  Nine  Muses  are  summed  up  in  one, 
the  back-figure  in  the  right-hand  corner  as  you  look  at  the  picture, 
which  is  all  grandeur,  elegance,  and  grace. — We  should  think  that  in 
the  gusto  of  form  and  a  noble  freedom  of  outline,  Michael  Angelo 
could  hardly  have  surpassed  this  figure.  The  face  too,  which  is  half 
turned  round,  is  charmingly  handsome.  The  back,  the  shoulders, 
the  legs,  are  the  perfection  of  bold  delicacy,  expanded  into  full-blown 
luxuriance,  and  then  retiring  as  it  were  from  their  own  proud  beauty 
and  conscious  charms  into  soft  and  airy  loveliness — 

'  Fine  by  degrees,  and  beautifully  less.' 

Is  it  a  Muse  ?     Or  is  it  not  a  figure  formed  for  action  more  than 
contemplation  ?      Perhaps  this  hypercritical  objection  may  be  true ; 
and   it   might  without  any   change  of  character  or   impropriety   be 
42 


THE  PICTURES  AT   HAMPTON   COURT 

supposed,  from  its  buoyancy,  its  ease,  and  sinewy  elasticity,  to 
represent  the  quivered  Goddess  shaping  her  bow  for  the  chase.  But, 
at  any  rate,  it  is  the  figure  of  a  Goddess,  or  of  a  woman  in  shape 
equal  to  a  Goddess,  The  colour  is  nearly  gone,  so  that  it  has 
almost  the  tone  of  a  black  and  white  chalk-drawing ;  and  the  effect 
of  form  remains  pure  and  unrivalled.  There  are  several  other  very 
pleasing  and  ably-drawn  figures  in  the  group,  but  they  are  eclipsed  in 
the  superior  splendour  of  this  one.  So  far  the  composition  is  faulty, 
for  its  balance  is  destroyed ;  and  there  are  certain  critics  who  could 
probably  maintain  that  the  picture  would  be  better,  if  this  capital 
excellence  in  it  had  been  deliberately  left  out :  the  picture  would, 
indeed,  have  been  more  according  to  rule,  and  to  the  taste  of  those 
who  judge,  feel,  and  see  by  rule  only !  Among  the  portraits  which 
are  curious,  is  one  of  Baccio  Bandinetti,  with  his  emblems  and 
implements  of  sculpture  about  him,  said  to  be  by  Correggio.  We 
cannot  pretend  to  give  an  opinion  on  this  point ;  but  it  is  a  studious, 
powerful,  and  elaborately  painted  head.  We  find  the  name  of  Titian 
attached  to  two  or  three  portraits  in  the  Collection.  There  is  one 
very  fine  one  of  a  young  man  in  black,  with  a  black  head  of  hair, 
the  face  seen  in  a  three-quarter  view,  and  the  dark  piercing  eye,  full 
of  subtle  meaning,  looking  round  at  you ;  which  is  probably  by 
Titian,  but  certainly  not  (as  it  is  pretended)  of  himself.  It  has 
not  the  aquiline  cast  of  features  by  which  his  own  portraits  are 
obviously  distinguished.  We  have  seen  a  print  of  this  picture,  in 
which  it  is  said  to  be  done  for  Ignatius  Loyola.  The  portrait 
of  a  lady  with  green  and  white  purfled  sleeves  (like  the  leaves  and 
flower  of  the  water-lily,  and  as  clear ! )  is  admirable.  It  was  in 
the  Pail-Mall  exhibition  of  the  Old  Masters  a  short  time  ago ; 
and  is  by  Sebastian  del  Piombo. — The  care  of  the  painting,  the 
natural  ease  of  the  attitude,  and  the  steady,  sensible,  cowuersable  look 
of  the  countenance,  place  this  in  a  class  of  pictures,  which  one  feels 
a  wish  to  have  always  by  one's  side,  whenever  there  is  a  want  of 
thought,  or  a  flaw  in  the  temper,  that  requires  filling  up  or  setting 
to  rights  by  some  agreeable  and  at  the  same  time  not  over-exciting 
object.  There  are  several  sot-disant  Parmegianos  ;  one  or  two  good 
Bassans ;  a  Battle-Piece  set  down  to  Julio  Romano ;  a  coloured 
drawing  (in  one  corner  of  a  room)  of  a  Nymph  and  Satyr  is  very 
fine;  and  some  of  Polemberg's  little  disagreeable  pictures  of  the 
same  subject,  in  which  the  Satyrs  look  like  paltry  bits  of  painted 
wood,  and  the  Nymphs  like  glazed  China-ware.  We  have  a 
prejudice  against  Polemberg,  which  is  a  rare  thing  with  us ! 

The  Cartoons  occupy  a  room  by  themselves — there  are  not  many 
such  rooms  in  the  world.      All  other  pictures  look  like  oil  and 

43 


THE  PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

varnish  to  these — we  are  stopped  and  attracted  by  the  colouring, 
the  pencilling,  the  finishing,  or  the  want  of  it,  that  is,  by  the  instru- 
mentalities of  the  art — but  here  the  painter  seems  to  have  flung  his 
mind  upon  the  canvas  ;  hie  thoughts,  his  great  ideas  alone  prevail ; 
there  is  nothing  between  us  and  the  subject;  we  look  through 
a  frame,  and  see  scripture-histories,  and  are  made  actual  spectators 
of  miraculous  events.  Not  to  speak  it  profanely,  they  are  a  sort 
of  revelation  of  the  subjects,  of  which  they  treat ;  there  is  an  ease 
and  freedom  of  manner  about  them,  which  brings  preternatural 
characters  and  situations  home  to  us,  with  the  familiarity  of  common 
every-day  occurrences ;  and  while  the  figures  fill,  raise,  and  satisfy 
the  mind,  they  seem  to  have  cost  the  painter  nothing.  The  Cartoons 
are  unique  productions  in  the  art.  They  are  mere  intellectual,  or 
rather  -visible  abstractions  of  truth  and  nature.  Every  where  else 
we  see  the  means ;  here  we  arrive  at  the  end  apparently  without 
any  means.  There  is  a  Spirit  at  work  in  the  divine  creation  before 
us.  We  are  unconscious  of  any  details,  of  any  steps  taken,  of  any 
progress  made ;  we  are  aware  only  of  comprehensive  results,  of 
whole  masses  and  figures.  The  sense  of  power  supersedes  the 
appearance  of  effort.  It  is  like  a  waking  dream,  vivid,  but  undistin- 
guishable  in  member,  joint,  or  limb ;  or  it  is  as  if  we  had  ourselves 
seen  the  persons  and  things  at  some  former  period  of  our  being,  and 
that  the  drawing  certain  dotted  lines  upon  coarse  paper,  by  some 
unknown  spell,  brought  back  the  entire  and  living  images,  and  made 
them  pass  before  us,  palpable  to  thought,  to  feeling,  and  to  sight. 
Perhaps  not  all  is  owing  to  genius :  something  of  this  effect  may  be 
ascribed  to  the  simplicity  of  the  vehicle  employed  in  embodying  the 
story,  and  something  to  the  decayed  and  dilapidated  state  of  the 
pictures  themselves.  They  are  the  more  majestic  for  being  in  ruin  : 
we  are  struck  chiefly  with  the  truth  of  proportion,  and  the  range 
of  conception :  all  the  petty,  meretricious  part  of  the  art  is  dead  in 
them ;  the  carnal  is  made  spiritual,  the  corruptible  has  put  on  incor- 
ruption,  and,  amidst  the  wreck  of  colour,  and  the  mouldering  of 
material  beauty,  nothing  is  left  but  a  universe  of  thought,  or  the 
broad,  imminent  shadows  of  '  calm  contemplation  and  majestic 
pains ! ' 

The  first  in  order  is  the  Death  of  Ananias  ;  and  it  is  one  of  the 
noblest  of  these  noble  designs.  The  effect  is  striking;  and  the 
contrast  between  the  stedfast,  commanding  attitude  of  the  Apostles, 
and  the  convulsed  and  prostrate  figure  of  Ananias  on  the  floor,  is 
finely  imagined.  It  is  much  as  if  a  group  of  persons  on  shore  stood 
to  witness  the  wreck  of  life  and  hope  on  the  rocks  and  quicksands 
beneath  them.     The  abruptness  and  severity  of  the  transition  are, 

44 


THE   PICTURES   AT  HAMPTON  COURT 

however,  broken  and  relieved  by  the  other  human  interests  in  the 
picture.  The  Ananias  is  a  masterly,  a  stupendous  figure.  The 
attitude,  the  drawing,  the  expression,  the  ease,  the  force,  are  alike 
wonderful.  He  falls  so  naturally,  that  it  seems  as  if  a  person  could 
fall  in  no  other  way ;  and  yet  of  all  the  ways  in  which  a  human 
figure  could  fall,  it  is  probably  the  most  expressive  of  a  person 
overwhelmed  by  and  in  the  grasp  of  Divine  vengeance.  This  is  in 
some  measure,  we  apprehend,  the  secret  of  Raphael's  success.  Most 
painters,  in  studying  an  attitude,  puzzle  themselves  to  find  out  what 
will  be  picturesque,  and  what  will  be  fine,  and  never  discover  it : 
Raphael  only  thought  how  a  person  would  stand  or  fall  naturally  in 
such  or  such  circumstances,  and  the  picturesque  and  the  Jine  followed 
as  matters  of  course.  Hence  the  unaffected  force  and  dignity  of  his 
style,  which  are  only  another  name  for  truth  and  nature  under 
impressive  and  momentous  circumstances.  The  distraction  of  the 
face,  the  inclination  of  the  head  on  one  side,  are  as  fine  as  possible, 
and  the  agony  is  just  verging  to  that  point,  in  which  it  is  relieved  by 
death.  The  expression  of  ghastly  wonder  in  the  features  of  the  man 
on  the  floor  next  him  is  also  remarkable ;  and  the  mingled  beauty, 
grief,  and  horror  in  the  female  head  behind  can  never  be  enough 
admired  or  extolled.  The  pain,  the  sudden  and  violent  contraction 
of  the  muscles,  is  as  intense  as  if  a  sharp  instrument  had  been  driven 
into  the  forehead,  and  yet  the  same  sweetness  triumphs  there  as  ever, 
the  most  perfect  self-command  and  dignity  of  demeanour.  We  could 
hazard  a  conjecture  that  this  is  what  forms  the  great  distinction 
between  the  natural  style  of  Raphael  and  the  natural  style  of 
Hogarth.  Both  are  equally  intense;  but  the  one  is  intense  little- 
ness, meanness,  vulgarity ;  the  other  is  intense  grandeur,  refinement, 
and  sublimity.  In  the  one  we  see  common,  or  sometimes  uncommon 
and  painful,  circumstances  acting  with  all  their  force  on  narrow  minds 
and  deformed  bodies,  and  bringing  out  distorted  and  violent  efforts  at 
expression ;  in  the  other  we  see  noble  forms  and  lofty  characters 
contending  with  adverse,  or  co-operating  with  powerful  impressions 
from  without,  and  imparting  their  own  unaltered  grace,  and  habitual 
composure  to  them.  In  Hogarth,  generally,  the  face  is  excited  and 
torn  in  pieces  by  some  paltry  interest  of  its  own ;  in  Raphael,  on  the 
contrary,  it  is  expanded  and  ennobled  by  the  contemplation  of  some 
event  or  object  highly  interesting  in  itself:  that  is  to  say,  the  passion 
in  the  one  is  intellectual  and  abstracted ;  the  passion  in  the  other  is 
petty,  selfish,  and  confined.  We  have  not  thought  it  beneath  the 
dignity  of  the  subject  to  make  this  comparison  between  two  of  the 
most  extraordinary  and  highly  gifted  persons  that  the  world  ever  saw. 
If  Raphael  had  seen  Hogarth's  pictures,  he  would  not  have  despised 

45 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

them.  Those  only  can  do  it  (and  they  are  welcome  ! )  who,  wanting 
all  that  he  had,  can  do  nothing  that  he  could  not,  or  that  they  them- 
selves pretend  to  accomplish  by  afFectation  and  bombast. 

Elymas  the  Sorcerer  stands  next  in  order,  and  is  equal  in  merit. 
There  is  a  Roman  sternness  and  severity  in  the  general  look  of  the 
scene.  The  figure  of  the  Apostle,  who  is  inflicting  the  punishment 
of  blindness  on  the  impostor,  is  grand,  commanding,  full  of  ease  and 
dignity  :  and  the  figure  of  Elymas  is  blind  all  over,  and  is  muffled  up 
in  its  clothes  from  head  to  foot.  A  story  is  told  of  Mr.  Garrick's 
objecting  to  the  natural  effect  of  the  action,  in  the  hearing  of  the  late 
Mr.  West,  who,  in  vindication  of  the  painter,  requested  the  celebrated 
comedian  to  close  his  eyes  and  walk  across  the  room,  when  he  instantly 
stretched  out  his  hands,  and  began  to  grope  his  way  with  the  exact 
attitude  and  expression  of  this  noble  study.  It  may  be  worth  remark- 
ing here,  that  this  great  painter  and  fine  observer  of  human  nature 
has  represented  the  magician  with  a  hard  iron  visage,  and  strong 
uncouth  figure,  made  up  of  bones  and  muscles,  as  one  not  troubled 
with  weak  nerves,  nor  to  be  diverted  from  his  purpose  by  idle 
scruples,  as  one  who  repelled  all  sympathy  with  others,  who  was 
not  to  be  moved  a  jot  by  their  censures  or  prejudices  against  him, 
and  who  could  break  with  ease  through  the  cobweb  snares  which  he 
laid  for  the  credulity  of  mankind,  without  being  once  entangled  in 
his  own  delusions.  His  outward  form  betrays  the  hard,  unimaginative, 
self-willed  understanding  of  the  Sorcerer. — There  is  a  head  (a  profile) 
coming  in  on  one  side  of  the  picture,  which  we  would  point  out  to 
our  readers  as  one  of  the  most  finely  relieved,  and  best  preserved, 
in  this  series.  The  face  of  Elymas,  and  some  others  in  the  picture, 
have  been  a  good  deal  hurt  by  time  and  ill-treatment.  There  is  a 
snuffy  look  under  the  nose,  as  if  the  water  colour  had  been  washed 
away  in  some  damp  lumber-room,  or  unsheltered  out-house.  The 
Cartoons  have  felt  'the  seasons'  difference,'  being  exposed  to  wind 
and  rain,  tossed  about  from  place  to  place,  and  cut  down  by  profane 
hands  to  fit  them  to  one  of  their  abodes ;  so  that  it  is  altogether 
wonderful,  that  'through  their  looped  and  tattered  wretchedness,' 
any  traces  are  seen  of  their  original  splendour  and  beauty.  That 
they  are  greatly  changed  from  what  they  were  even  a  hundred  years 
ago,  is  evident  from  the  heads  in  the  RadcIifFe  library  at  Oxford, 
which  were  cut  out  from  one  of  them  that  was  nearly  destroyed  by 
some  accident,  and  from  the  large  French  engravings  of  single  heads, 
done  about  the  same  time,  which  are  as  finished  and  correct  as 
possible.  Even  Sir  James  Thornhill's  copies  bear  testimony  to  the 
same  effect.  Though  without  the  spirit  of  the  originals,  they  have 
fewer  blots  and  blotches  in  them,  from  having  been  better  taken  care 

46 


THE   PICTURES   AT   HAMPTON  COURT 

of.  A  skeleton  is  barely  left  of  the  Cartoons :  but  their  mighty 
relics,  like  the  bones  of  the  Mammoth,  tell  us  what  the  entire  and 
living  fabric  must  have  been  ! 

In  the  Gate  Beautiful  there  is  a  profusion  of  what  is  fine,  and  of 
imposing  contrasts.  The  twisted  pillars  have  been  found  fault  with  ; 
but  there  they  stand,  and  will  for  ever  stand  to  answer  all  cavillers 
with  their  wreathed  beauty.  The  St.  John  in  this  Cartoon  is  an 
instance  of  what  we  have  above  hinted  as  to  the  ravages  of  time  on 
these  pictures.  In  the  old  French  engraving  (half  the  size  of  life) 
the  features  are  exceedingly  well  marked  and  beautiful,  whereas 
they  are  here  in  a  great  measure  defaced ;  and  the  hair,  which  is 
at  present  a  mere  clotted  mass,  is  woven  into  graceful  and  waving 
curls, 

'  Like  to  those  hanging  locks 
Of  young  Apollo.' 

Great  inroads  have  been  made  on  the  delicate  outline  of  the  other 
parts,  and  the  surface  has  been  generally  injured.  The  Beggars  are 
as  fine  as  ever  :  they  do  not  lose  by  the  squalid  condition  of  their 
garb  or  features,  but  remain  patriarchs  of  poverty,  and  mighty  in 
disease  and  infirmity,  as  if  they  crawled  and  grovelled  on  the 
pavement  of  Heaven.  They  are  lifted  above  this  world  !  The 
child  carrying  the  doves  at  his  back  is  an  exquisite  example  of 
grace,  and  innocence,  and  buoyant  motion  ;  and  the  face  and  figure 
of  the  young  woman  seen  directly  over  him  give  a  glad  welcome 
to  the  eye  in  their  fresh,  unalloyed,  and  radiant  sweetness  and  joy. 
This  head  seems  to  have  been  spared  from  the  unhallowed  touch  of 
injury,  like  a  little  isle  or  circlet  of  beauty.  It  was  guarded,  we 
may  suppose,  by  its  own  heavenly,  feminine  look  of  smiling  loveliness. 
There  is  another  very  fine  female  head  on  the  opposite  side  of  the 
picture,  of  a  graver  cast,  looking  down,  and  nearly  in  profile.  The 
only  part  of  this  Cartoon  that  we  object  to,  or  should  be  for  turning 
out,  is  the  lubberly  naked  figure  of  a  boy  close  to  one  of  the 
pillars,  who  seems  to  have  no  sort  of  business  there,  and  is  an  obvious 
eye-sore. 

The  Miraculous  Draught  of  Fishes  is  admirable  for  the  clearness 
and  prominence  of  the  figures,  for  the  vigorous  marking  of  the 
muscles,  for  the  fine  expression  of  devout  emotion  in  the  St.  Peter, 
and  for  the  calm  dignity  in  the  attitude,  and  divine  benignity  in  the 
countenance  of  the  Christ.  Perhaps  this  head  expresses,  more  than 
any  other  that  ever  was  attempted,  the  blended  meekness,  benevolence, 
and  sublimity  in  the  character  of  our  Saviour.  The  whole  figure  is 
so  still,  so  easy,  it  almost  floats  in  air,  and  seems  to  sustain  the  boat 

47 


THE   PICTURE    GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

by  the  secret  sense  of  power.  We  shall  not  attempt  to  make  a  formal 
reply  to  the  old  objection  to  the  diminutive  size  of  the  boat,  but  we 
confess  it  appears  to  us  to  enhance  the  value  of  the  miracle.  Its 
load  swells  proportionably  in  comparison,  and  the  waves  conspire  to 
bear  it  up.  The  Storks  on  the  shore  are  not  the  least  animated  or 
elevated  part  of  the  picture ;  they  exult  in  the  display  of  divine  power, 
and  share  in  the  prodigality  of  the  occasion. 

The  Sacrifice  at  Lystra  has  the  marks  of  Raphael's  hand  on  every 
part  of  it.  You  see  and  almost  hear  what  is  passing.  What  a 
pleasing  relief  to  the  confused,  busy  scene,  are  the  two  children 
piping  at  the  altar !  How  finely,  how  unexpectedly,  but  naturally, 
that  innocent  rustic  head  of  a  girl  comes  in  over  the  grave  counten- 
ances and  weighty,  thoughtful  heads  of  the  group  of  attendant 
priests !  The  animals  brought  to  be  sacrificed  are  equally  fine  in 
the  expression  of  terror,  and  the  action  of  resistance  to  the  rude  force 
by  which  they  are  dragged  along. 

A  great  deal  has  been  said  and  written  on  the  St.  Paul  preaching 
at  Athens.  The  features  of  excellence  in  this  composition  are  indeed 
so  bold  and  striking  as  hardly  to  be  mistaken.  The  abrupt  figure 
of  St.  Paul,  his  hands  raised  in  that  fervent  appeal  to  Him  who 
'  dwelleth  not  in  temples  made  with  hands,'  such  as  are  seen  in 
gorgeous  splendour  all  around,  the  circle  of  his  auditors,  the  noble 
and  pointed  diversity  of  heads,  the  one  wrapped  in  thought  and  in  its 
cowl,  another  resting  on  a  crutch  and  earnestly  scanning  the  face  of 
the  Apostle  rather  than  his  doctrine,  the  careless  attention  of  the 
Epicurean  philosopher,  the  fine  young  heads  of  the  disciples  of  the 
Porch  or  the  Academy,  the  clenched  fist  and  eager  curiosity  of 
the  man  in  front  as  if  he  was  drinking  sounds,  give  this  picture  a 
superiority  over  all  the  others  for  popular  and  intelligible  effect.  We 
do  not  think  that  it  is  therefore  the  best ;  but  it  is  the  easiest  to 
describe  and  to  remember. 

The  Giving  of  the  Keys  is  the  last  of  them :  it  is  at  present  at 
Somerset  House.  There  is  no  set  purpose  here,  no  studied  contrast : 
it  is  an  aggregation  of  grandeur  and  high  feeling.  The  disciples 
gather  round  Christ,  like  a  flock  of  sheep  listening  to  some  divine 
shepherd.  The  figure  of  their  master  is  sublime :  his  countenance 
and  attitude  '  in  act  to  speak.'  The  landscape  is  also  extremely  fine 
and  of  a  soothing  character. — Every  thing  falls  into  its  place  in  these 
pictures.  The  figures  seem  to  stop  just  where  their  business  and 
feelings  bring  them :  not  a  fold  in  the  draperies  can  be  disposed  of 
for  the  better  or  otherwise  than  it  is. 

It  would  be  in  vain  to  enumerate  the  particular  figures,  or  to 
explain  the  story  of  works  so  well  known  :  what  we  have  aimed  at 

48 


LORD   GROSVENOR'S   PICTURES 

has  been  to  shew  the  spirit  that  breathes  through  them,  and  we  shall 
count  ourselves  fortunate,  if  we  have  not  sullied  them  with  our  praise. 
We  do  not  care  about  some  works :  but  these  were  sacred  to  our 
imaginations,  and  we  should  be  sorry  indeed  to  have  profaned  them 
by  description  or  criticism.  We  have  hurried  through  our  unavoidable 
task  with  fear,  and  look  back  to  it  with  doubt. 


LORD  GROSVENOR'S  COLLECTION  OF  PICTURES 

We  seldom  quit  a  mansion  like  that  of  which  we  have  here  to 
give  some  account,  and  return  homewards,  but  we  think  of  Warton's 
Sonnet,  'written  after  seeing  Wilton-house. 

'  From  Pembroke's  princely  dome,  where  mimic  art 
Decks  with  a  magic  hand  the  dazzling  bowers, 
Its  living  hues  where  the  warm  pencil  pours, 
And  breathing  forms  from  the  rude  marble  start, 
How  to  life's  humbler  scenes  can  I  depart  ? 
My  breast  all  glowing  from  those  gorgeous  tow'rs, 
In  my  low  cell  how  cheat  the  sullen  hours  ? 
Vain  the  complaint !     For  Fancy  can  impart 
(To  Fate  superior,  and  to  Fortune's  doom) 
Whate'er  adorns  the  stately-storied  hall : 
She,  mid  the  dungeon's  solitary  gloom, 
Can  dress  the  Graces  in  their  Attic  pall : 
Bid  the  green  landscape's  vernal  beauty  bloom  ; 
And  in  bright  trophies  clothe  the  twilight  wall.' 

Having  repeated  these  lines  to  ourselves,  we  sit  quietly  down  in 
our  chairs  to  con  over  our  task,  abstract  the  idea  of  exclusive  property, 
and  think  only  of  those  images  of  beauty  and  of  grandeur,  which  we 
can  carry  away  with  us  in  our  minds,  and  have  every  where  before 
us.     Let  us  take  some  of  these,  and  describe  them  how  we  can. 

There  is  one — we  see  it  now — the  Man  with  a  Hawk,  by 
Rembrandt.  '  In  our  mind's  eye,  Horatio  !  '  What  is  the 
difference  between  this  idea  which  we  have  brought  away  with  us, 
and  the  picture  on  the  wall  ?  Has  it  lost  any  of  its  tone,  its  ease, 
its  depth?  The  head  turns  round  in  the  same  graceful  moving 
attitude,  the  eye  carelessly  meets  ours,  the  tufted  beard  grows  to  the 
chin,  the  hawk  flutters  and  balances  himself  on  his  favourite  perch, 
his  master's  hand  ;  and  a  shadow  seems  passing  over  the  picture,  just 
leaving  a  light  in  one  corner  of  it  behind,  to  give  a  livelier  effect  to 
the  whole.  There  is  no  mark  of  the  pencil,  no  jagged  points  or  solid 
masses ;  it  is  all  air,  and  twilight  might  be  supposed  to  have  drawn 

VOL.  IX.  :  D  49 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

his  veil  across  it.  It  is  as  much  an  idea  on  the  canvas,  as  it  is  in 
the  mind.  There  are  no  means  employed,  as  far  as  you  can  discover 
— you  see  nothing  but  a  simple,  grand,  and  natural  effect.  It  is 
impalpable  as  a  thought,  intangible  as  a  sound — nay,  the  shadows 
have  a  breathing  harmony,  and  fling  round  an  undulating  echo  of 
themselves, 

'  At  every  fall  smoothing  the  raven  down 
Of  darkness  till  it  smiles  ! ' 

In  the  opposite  corner  of  the  room  is  a  Portrait  of  a  Female  (by 
the  same),  in  which  every  thing  is  as  clear,  and  pointed,  and  brought 
out  into  the  open  day,  as  in  the  former  it  is  withdrawn  from  close 
and  minute  inspection.  The  face  glitters  with  smiles  as  the  ear-rings 
sparkle  with  light.  The  whole  is  stiff,  starched,  and  formal,  has  a 
pearly  or  metallic  look,  and  you  throughout  mark  the  most  elaborate 
and  careful  finishing.  The  two  pictures  make  an  antithesis,  where 
they  are  placed ;  but  this  was  not  probably  at  all  intended :  it 
proceeds  simply  from  the  difference  in  the  nature  of  the  subject,  and 
the  truth  and  appropriate  power  of  the  treatment  of  it. — In  the 
middle  between  these  two  pictures  is  a  small  history,  by  Rembrandt, 
of  the  Salutation  of  Elizabeth,  in  which  the  figures  come  out  straggling, 
disjointed,  quaint,  ugly  as  in  a  dream,  but  partake  of  the  mysterious 
significance  of  preternatural  communication,  and  are  seen  through  the 
visible  gloom,  or  through  the  dimmer  night  of  antiquity.  Light  and 
shade,  not  form  or  feeling,  were  the  elements  of  which  Rembrandt 
composed  the  finest  poetry,  and  his  imagination  brooded  only  over  the 
medium  through  which  we  discern  objects,  leaving  the  objects  them- 
selves uninspired,  unhallowed,  and  untouched  ! 

We  must  go  through  our  account  of  these  pictures  as  they  start  up 
in  our  memory,  not  according  to  the  order  of  their  arrangement,  for 
want  of  a  proper  set  of  memorandums.  Our  friend,  Mr.  Gummow, 
of  Cleveland-house,  had  a  nice  little  neatly-bound  duodecimo  Catalogue, 
of  great  use  as  a  Vade  Mecum  to  occasional  visitants  or  absent  critics 
— but  here  we  have  no  such  advantage ;  and  to  take  notes  before 
company  is  a  thing  that  we  abhor.  It  has  a  look  of  pilfering  some- 
thing from  the  pictures.  While  we  merely  enjoy  the  sight  of  the 
objects  of  art  before  us,  or  sympathise  with  the  approving  gaze  of 
the  greater  beauty  around  us,  it  is  well ;  there  is  a  feeling  of  luxury 
and  refinement  in  the  employment ;  but  take  out  a  pocket-book,  and 
begin  to  scribble  notes  in  it,  the  date  of  the  picture,  the  name,  the 
room,  some  paltry  defect,  some  pitiful  discovery  (not  worth  remember- 
ing), the  non-essentials,  the  mechanic  common-places  of  the  art,  and 
the  sentiment  is  gone — you  shew  that  you  have  a  further  object  in 

SO 


LORD   GROSVENOR'S   PICTURES 

view,  a  job  to  execute,  a  feeling  foreign  to  the  place,  and  different 
from  every  one  else — you  become  a  butt  and  a  mark  for  ridicule  to 
the  rest  of  the  company — and  you  retire  with  your  pockets  full  of 
wisdom  from  a  saloon  of  art,  with  as  little  right  as  you  have  to  carry 
off  the  dessert,  (or  what  you  have  not  been  able  to  consume,)  from 
an  inn,  or  a  banquet.  Such,  at  least,  is  our  feeling ;  and  we  had 
rather  make  a  mistake  now  and  then,  as  to  a  numero,  or  the  name  of 
a  room  in  which  a  picture  is  placed,  than  spoil  our  whole  pleasure  in 
looking  at  a  fine  Collection,  and  consequently  the  pleasure  of  the 
reader  in  learning  what  we  thought  of  it. 

Among  the  pictures  that  haunt  our  eye  in  this  way  is  the  Adoration 
of  the  Angels,  by  N.  Poussin.  It  is  one  of  his  finest  works — elegant, 
graceful,  fiiU  of  feeling,  happy,  enlivening.  It  is  treated  rather  as  a 
classical  than  as  a  sacred  subject.  The  Angels  are  more  like  Cupids 
than  Angels.  They  are,  however,  beautifully  grouped,  with  various 
and  expressive  attitudes,  and  remind  one,  by  their  half  antic,  half 
serious  homage,  of  the  line — 

'  Nod  to  him,  elves,  and  do  him  courtesies.' 

They  are  laden  with  baskets  of  flowers — the  tone  of  the  picture  is 
rosy,  florid ;  it  seems  to  have  been  painted  at 

'  The  breezy  call  of  incense-breathing  mom,' 

and  the  angels  overhead  sport  and  gambol  in  the  air  with  butterfly- 
wings,  like  butterflies.  It  is  one  of  those  rare  productions  that  satisfy 
the  mind,  and  from  which  we  turn  away,  not  from  weariness,  but  from 
a  fulness  of  delight. — The  Israelites  returning  Thanks  in  the  Wilderness 
is  a  fine  picture,  but  inferior  to  this.  Near  it  is  a  group  of  Angels, 
said  to  be  by  Correggio.  The  expressions  are  grotesque  and  fine, 
but  the  colouring  does  not  seem  to  us  to  be  his.  The  texture  of  the 
flesh,  as  well  as  the  hue,  too  much  resembles  the  skin  of  ripe  fruit. 
We  meet  with  several  fine  landscapes  of  the  two  Poussins,  (particularly 
one  of  a  rocky  eminence  by  Caspar,)  in  the  room  before  you  come 
to  the  Rembrandts,  in  which  the  mixture  of  grey  rock  and  green 
trees  and  shrubs  is  beautifully  managed,  with  striking  truth  and 
clearness. 

Among  detached  and  smaller  pictures,  we  would  wish  to  point  out 
to  the  attention  of  our  readers,  an  exquisite  head  of  a  Child,  by 
Andrea  del  Sarto,  and  a  fine  Salvator  in  the  inner  room  of  all :  in  the 
room  leading  to  it,  a  pleasing,  glassy  Cuyp,  an  airy,  earthy-looking 
Teniers,  and  a  Mother  and  a  Sleeping  Child,  by  Guido  :  in  the  Saloon, 
a  St.  Catherine,  one  of  Parmegiano's  most  graceful  pictures  ;  a  St. 
Agnes,  by  Domenichino,  full  of  sweetness,  thought,  and  feeling ;  and 

51 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES  OF  ENGLAND 

two  pictures  by  Raphael,  that  have  a  look  as  if  painted  on  paper :  a 
Repose  in  Egypt,  and  St.  Luke  painting  the  Virgin,  both  admirable 
for  drawing  and  expression,  and  a  rich,  purple,  crayon  tone  of 
colouring.  Wherever  Raphael  is,  there  is  grace  and  dignity,  and 
an  informing  soul.  In  the  last-mentioned  room,  near  the  entrance,  is 
also  a  Conversion  of  Saint  Paul,  by  Rubens,  of  infinite  spirit, 
brilliancy,  and  delicacy  of  execution. 

But  it  is  in  the  large  room  to  the  right,  that  the  splendour  and 
power  of  Rubens  reign  triumphant  and  unrivalled,  and  yet  he  has 
here  to  contend  with  highest  works  and  names.  The  four  large 
pictures  of  ecclesiastical  subjects,  the  Meeting  of  Abram  and  Melchisedec, 
the  Gathering  of  Manna,  the  Evangelists,  and  the  Fathers  of  the  Church, 
have  no  match  in  this  country  for  scenic  pomp,  and  dazzling  airy 
effect.  The  figures  are  colossal ;  and  it  might  be  said,  without  much 
extravagance,  that  the  drawing  and  colouring  are  so  too.^  He  seems 
to  have  painted  with  a  huge  sweeping  gigantic  pencil,  and  with  broad 
masses  of  unalloyed  colour.  The  spectator  is  (as  it  were)  thrown 
back  by  the  pictures,  and  surveys  them,  as  if  placed  at  a  stupendous 
height,  as  well  as  distance  from  him.  This,  indeed,  is  their  history : 
they  were  painted  to  be  placed  in  some  Jesuit's  church  abroad,  at  an 
elevation  of  forty  or  fifty  feet,  and  Rubens  would  have  started  to  see 
them  in  a  drawing-room  or  on  the  ground.  Had  he  foreseen  such  a 
result,  he  would  perhaps  have  added  something  to  the  correctness  of 
the  features,  and  taken  something  from  the  gorgeous  crudeness  of  the 
colour.  But  there  is  grandeur  of  composition,  involution  of  form, 
motion,  character  in  its  vast,  rude  outline,  the  imposing  contrast  of 
sky  and  flesh,  fine  grotesque  heads  of  old  age,  florid  youth,  and  fawn- 
like beauty  !  You  see  nothing  but  patriarchs,  primeval  men  and 
women,  walking  among  temples,  or  treading  the  sky — or  the  earth, 
with  an  '  air  and  gesture  proudly  eminent,'  as  if  they  trod  the  sky — 
when  man  first  rose  from  nothing  to  his  native  sublimity.  We  cannot 
describe  these  pictures  in  their  details ;  they  are  one  staggering  blow 
after  another  of  the  mighty  hand  that  traced  them.  All  is  cast  in 
the  same  mould,  all  is  filled  with  the  same  spirit,  all  is  clad  in  the 
same  gaudy  robe  of  light.  Rubens  was  at  home  here;  his  _/or/e  was 
the  processional,  the  showy,  and  the  imposing;  he  grew  almost 
drunk  and  wanton  with  the  sense  of  his  power  over  such  subjects ; 
and  he,  in  fact,  left  these  pictures  unfinished  in  some  particulars,  that, 
for  the  place  and  object  for  which  they  were  intended,  they  might  be 
perfect.  They  were  done  (it  is  said)  for  tapestries  from  small 
designs,  and  carried  nearly  to  their  present  state  of  finishing  by  his 

^  We  heard  it  well  said  the  other  day,  that '  Rubens's  pictures  were  the  nalette 
of  Titian.'  '^ 

52 


LORD   GROSVENOR'S   PICTURES 

scholars.  There  is  a  smaller  picture  in  the  same  room,  Ixion 
embracing  the  false  Juno,  which  points  out  and  defines  their  style  of 
art  and  adaptation  for  remote  effect.  There  is  a  delicacy  in  this 
last  picture  (which  is,  however  of  the  size  of  life)  that  makes  it 
look  like  a  miniature  in  comparison.  The  flesh  of  the  women  is  like 
lilies,  or  like  milk  strewed  upon  ivory.  It  is  soft  and  pearly ;  but, 
in  the  larger  pictures,  it  is  heightened  beyond  nature,  the  veil  of  air 
between  the  spectator  and  the  figures,  when  placed  in  the  proper 
position,  being  supposed  to  give  the  last  finishing.  Near  the  Ixion  is 
an  historical  female  figure,  by  Guide,  which  will  not  bear  any  com- 
parison for  transparency  and  delicacy  of  tint  with  the  two  Junos. — 
Rubens  was  undoubtedly  the  greatest  scene-painter  in  the  world,  if  we 
except  Paul  Veronese,  and  the  Fleming  was  to  him  flat  and  insipid. 
'  It  is  place  which  lessens  and  sets  off.'  We  once  saw  two  pictures 
of  Rubens'  hung  by  the  side  of  the  Marriage  of  Cana  in  the  Louvre  ; 
and  they  looked  nothing.  The  Paul  Veronese  nearly  occupied  the 
side  of  a  large  room  (the  modern  French  exhibition-room)  and  it  was 
like  looking  through  the  side  of  a  wall,  or  at  a  splendid  banquet  and 
gallery,  full  of  people,  and  full  of  interest.  The  texture  of  the  two 
Rubenses  was  'woolly,  or  flowery,  or  sattiny :  it  was  all  alike ;  but  in 
the  Venetian's  great  work  the  pillars  were  of  stone,  the  floor  was 
marble,  the  tables  were  wood,  the  dresses  were  various  stuffs,  the  sky 
was  air,  the  flesh  was  flesh ;  the  groups  were  living  men  and  women. 
Turks,  emperours,  ladies,  painters,  musicians — all  was  real,  dazzling, 
profiise,  astonishing.  It  seemed  as  if  the  very  dogs  under  the  table 
might  get  up  and  bark,  or  that  at  the  sound  of  a  trumpet  the  whole 
assembly  might  rise  and  disperse  in  different  directions,  in  an  instant. 
This  picture,  however,  was  considered  as  the  triumph  of  Paul 
Veronese,  and  the  two  by  the  Flemish  artist  that  hung  beside  it 
were  very  inferior  to  some  of  his,  and  assuredly  to  those  now 
exhibited  in  the  Gallery  at  Lord  Grosvenor's.  Neither  do  we  wish 
by  this  allusion  to  disparage  Rubens ;  for  we  think  him  on  the  whole 
a  greater  genius,  and  a  greater  painter,  than  the  rival  we  have  here 
opposed  to  him,  as  we  may  attempt  to  shew  when  we  come  to  speak 
of  the  Collection  at  Blenheim. 

There  are  some  divine  Claudes  in  the  same  room  ;  and  they  too 
are  like  looking  through  a  window  at  a  select  and  conscious  landscape. 
There  are  five  or  six,  all  capital  for  the  composition,  and  highly 
preserved.  There  is  a  strange  and  somewhat  anomalous  one  of  Christ 
in  the  Mount,  as  if  the  artist  had  tried  to  contradict  himself,  and  yet 
it  is  Claude  all  over.  Nobody  but  he  could  paint  one  single  atom  of 
it.  The  Mount  is  stuck  up  in  the  very  centre  of  the  picture,  against 
all  rule,  like  a  huge  dirt-pye :  but  then  what  an  air  breathes  round  it, 

S3 


THE  PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

what  a  sea  encircles  it,  what  verdure  clothes  it,  what  flocks  and  herds 
feed  round  it,  immortal  and  unchanged !  Close  by  it  is  the  Arch  of 
Constantine  ;  but  this  is  to  us  a  bitter  disappointment.  A  print  of  it 
hung  in  a  little  room  in  the  country,  where  we  used  to  contemplate  it 
by  the  hour  together,  and  day  after  day,  and  '  sigh  our  souls '  into 
the  picture.  It  was  the  most  graceful,  the  most  perfect  of  all  Claude's 
compositions.  The  Temple  seemed  to  come  forward  into  the  middle 
of  the  picture,  as  in  a  dance,  to  show  its  unriyalled  beauty,  the 
Vashti  of  the  scene  !  Young  trees  bent  their  branches  over  it  with 
playful  tenderness ;  and,  on  the  opposite  side  of  a  stream,  at  which 
cattle  stooped  to  drink,  there  grew  a  stately  grove,  erect,  with  answer- 
ing looks  of  beauty :  the  distance  between  retired  into  air  and 
gleaming  shores.  Never  was  there  scene  so  fair,  '  so  absolute,  that 
in  itself  summ'd  all  delight.'  How  did  we  wish  to  compare  it  with 
the  picture !  The  trees,  we  thought,  must  be  of  vernal  green — the 
sky  recalled  the  mild  dawn,  or  softened  evening.  No,  the  branches 
of  the  trees  are  red,  the  sky  burned  up,  the  whole  hard  and  uncomfort- 
able. This  is  not  the  picture,  the  print  of  which  we  used  to  gaze  at 
enamoured — there  is  another  somewhere  that  we  still  shall  see  !  There 
are  finer  specimens  of  the  Morning  and  Evening  of  the  Roman  Empire, 
at  Lord  Radnor's,  in  Wiltshire.  Those  here  have  a  more  polished, 
cleaned  look,  but  we  cannot  prefer  them  on  that  account.  In  one 
corner  of  the  room  is  a  St.  Bruno,  by  Andrea  Sacchi — a  fine  study, 
with  pale  face  and  garments,  a  saint  dying  (as  it  should  seem) — but 
as  he  dies,  conscious  of  an  undying  spirit.  The  old  Catholic  painters 
put  the  soul  of  religion  into  their  pictures — for  they  felt  it  within 
themselves. 

There  are  two  Titians — the  Woman  taken  in  Adultery,  and  a  large 
mountainous  landscape  with  the  story  of  Jupiter  and  Antiope.  The 
last  is  rich  and  striking,  but  not  equal  to  his  best ;  and  the  former, 
we  think,  one  of  his  most  exceptionable  pictures,  both  in  character, 
and  (we  add)  colouring.  In  the  last  particular,  it  is  tricky,  and 
discovers,  instead  of  concealing  its  art.  The  flesh  is  not  transparent, 
but  a  transparency  !  Let  us  not  forget  a  fine  Synders,  a  Boar-hunt, 
which  is  highly  spirited  and  natural,  as  far  as  the  animals  are  con- 
cerned ;  but  is  patchy,  and  wants  the  tone  and  general  effect  that 
Rubens  would  have  thrown  over  it.  In  the  middle  of  the  right-hand 
side  of  the  room,  is  the  Meeting  of  Jacob  and  Laban,  by  Murillo.  It 
is  a  lively,  out-of-door  scene,  full  of  bustle  and  expression  ;  but  it 
rather  brings  us  to  the  tents  and  faces  of  two  bands  of  gypsies  meeting 
on  a  common  heath,  than  carries  us  back  to  the  remote  times,  places, 
and  events,  treated  of.  Murillo  was  the  painter  of  nature,  not  of 
the  imagination.     There  is  a  Sleeping  Child  by  him,  over  the  door  of 

54 


PICTURES   AT  WILTON,   STOURHEAD,  ETC. 

the  saloon  (an  admirable  cabinet-picture),  and  another  of  a  boy,  a 
little  spirited  rustic,  brown,  glowing,  '  of  the  earth,  earthy,'  the  flesh 
thoroughly  baked,  as  if  he  had  come  out  of  an  oven ;  and  who  regards 
you  with  a  look  as  if  he  was  afraid  you  might  bind  him  apprentice  to 
some  trade  or  handicraft,  or  send  him  to  a  Sunday-school ;  and  so 
put  an  end  to  his  short,  happy,  careless  life — to  his  lessons  from  that 
great  teacher,  the  Sun — to  his  physic,  the  air — to  his  bed,  the  earth — 
and  to  the  soul  of  his  very  being.  Liberty! 

The  first  room  you  enter  is  filled  with  some  very  good  and  some 
very  bad  English  pictures.  There  is  Hogarth's  Distressed  Poet — 
the  Death  of  Wolfe,  by  West,  which  is  not  so  good  as  the  print  would 
lead  us  to  expect — an  excellent  whole-length  portrait  of  a  youth,  by 
Gainsborough — A  Man  with  a  Hawk,  by  North  cote,  and  Mrs. 
Siddons  as  the  Tragic  Muse,  by  Sir  Joshua.  This  portrait  Lord 
Grosvenor  bought  the  other  day  for  £i']6o.  It  has  risen  in  price 
every  time  it  has  been  sold.  Sir  Joshua  sold  it  for  two  or  three 
hundred  pounds  to  a  Mr.  Calonne.  It  was  then  purchased  by  Mr. 
Desenfans  who  parted  with  it  to  Mr.  William  Smith  for  a  larger  sum 
(we  believe  j^50o)  ;  and  at  the  sale  of  that  gentleman's  pictures,  it 
was  bought  by  Mr.  Watson  Taylor,  the  last  proprietor,  for  a  thousand 
guineas.  While  it  was  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  Desenfans,  a  copy  of 
it  was  taken  by  a  pupil  of  Sir  Joshua's,  of  the  name  of  Score,  which 
is  now  in  the  Dulwich  Gallery,  and  which  we  always  took  for  an 
original.  The  size  of  the  original  is  larger  than  the  copy.  There 
was  a  dead  child  painted  at  the  bottom  of  it,  which  Sir  Joshua 
Reynolds  afterwards  disliked,  and  he  had  the  canvas  doubled  upon 
the  frame  to  hide  it.  It  has  been  let  out  again,  but  we  did  not  observe 
whether  the  child  was  there.     We  think  it  had  better  not  be  seen. 

We  do  not  wish  to  draw  invidious  comparisons ;  yet  we  may  say, 
in  reference  to  the  pictures  in  Lord  Grosvenor's  Collection,  and  those 
at  Cleveland-house,  that  the  former  are  distinguished  most  by  elegance, 
brUliancy,  and  high  preservation ;  while  those  belonging  to  the 
Marquis  of  Stafford  look  more  like  old  pictures,  and  have  a  corre- 
sponding tone  of  richness  and  magnificence.  We  have  endeavoured 
to  do  justice  to  both,  but  we  confess  we  have  fallen  very  short  even 
of  our  own  hopes  and  expectations. 


PICTURES  AT  WILTON,  STOURHEAD,  &c. 

Salisbury  Plain,  barren  as  it  is,  is  rich  in  collections  and  monuments 
of  art.  There  are,  within  the  distance  of  a  few  miles,  Wilton, 
Longford-Castle,  Fonthill- Abbey,  Stourhead,  and   last  though   not 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

least  worthy  to  be  mentioned,  Stonehenge,  that  *  huge,  dumb  heap,' 
that  stands  on  the  blasted  heath,  and  looks  like  a  group  of  giants, 
bewildered,  not  knowing  what  to  do,  encumbering  the  earth,  and 
turned  to  stone,  while  in  the  act  of  warring  on  Heaven.  An  attempt 
has  lately  been  made  to  give  to  it  an  antediluvian  origin.  Its  mystic 
round  is  in  all  probability  fated  to  remain  inscrutable,  a  mighty  maze 
without  a  plan  :  but  still  the  imagination,  when  once  curiosity  and 
wonder  have  taken  possession  of  it,  heaves  with  its  restless  load, 
launches  conjecture  farther  and  farther  back  beyond  the  land-marks 
of  time,  and  strives  to  bear  down  all  impediments  in  its  course,  as  the 
ocean  strives  to  overleap  some  vast  promontory ! 

Fonthill-Abbey,  which  was  formerly  hermetically  sealed  against  all 
intrusion,'^  is  at  present  open  to  the  whole  world ;  and  Wilton-House, 
and  Longford-Castle,  which  were  formerly  open  to  every  one,  are  at 
present  shut,  except  to  petitioners,  and  a  favoured  few.  Why  is  this 
greater  degree  of  strictness  in  the  latter  instances  resorted  to  ?  In 
proportion  as  the  taste  for  works  of  art  becomes  more  general,  do 
these  Noble  Persons  wish  to  set  bounds  to  and  disappoint  public 
curiosity?  Do  they  think  that  the  admiration  bestowed  on  fine 
pictures  or  rare  sculpture  lessens  their  value,  or  divides  the  property, 
as  well  as  the  pleasure  with  the  possessor  ?  Or  do  they  think  that 
setting  aside  the  formality  of  these  new  regulations,  three  persons  in 
the  course  of  a  whole  year  would  intrude  out  of  an  impertinent 
curiosity  to  see  their  houses  and  furniture,  without  having  a  just  value 
for  them  as  objects  of  art  ?  Or  is  the  expence  of  keeping  servants  to 
shew  the  apartments  made  the  plea  of  this  churlish,  narrow  system  ? 
The  public  are  ready  enough  to  pay  servants  for  their  attendance,  and 
those  persons  are  quite  as  forward  to  do  this  who  make  a  pilgrimage 
to  such  places  on  foot  as  those  who  approach  them  in  a  post-chaise  or 
on  horseback  with  a  livery  servant,  which,  it  seems,  is  the  prescribed 
and  fashionable  etiquette !  Whatever  is  the  cause,  we  are  sorry  for 
it ;  more  particularly  as  it  compels  us  to  speak  of  these  two  admired 
Collections  from  memory  only.      It  is  several  years  since  we  saw 

^  This  is  not  absolutely  true.  Mr.  Banks  the  younger,  and  another  young 
gentleman,  formed  an  exception  to  this  rule,  and  contrived  to  get  into  the  Abbey- 
grounds,  in  spite  of  warning,  just  as  the  recluse  proprietor  happened  to  be  passing 
by  the  spot.  Instead,  however,  of  manifesting  any  displeasure,  he  gave  them  a 
most  polite  reception,  shewed  them  whatever  they  expressed  a  wish  to  see,  asked 
them  to  dinner,  and  after  passing  the  day  in  the  greatest  conviviality,  dismissed 
them  by  saying,  'That  they  might  get  out  as  they  got  in.'  This  was  certainly  a 
good  jest.  Our  youthful  adventurers  on  forbidden  ground,  in  the  midst  of  their 
festive  security,  might  have  expected  some  such  shrewd  turn  from  the  antithetical 
genius  of  the  author  of  Vathek,  who  makes  his  hero,  in  a  paroxysm  of  impatience, 
call  out  for  'the  Koran  and  sugar  ! ' 

56 


PICTURES   AT  WILTON,   STOURHEAD,  ETC. 

them ;  but  there  are  some  impressions  of  this  sort  that  are  proof 
against  time. 

Lord  Radnor  has  the  two  famous  Claudes,  the  Morning  and 
Evening  of  the  Roman  Empire.  Though  as  landscapes  they  are 
neither  so  brilliant,  nor  finished,  nor  varied,  as  some  of  this  Artist's, 
there  is  a  weight  and  concentration  of  historic  feeling  about  them 
which  many  of  his  allegorical  productions  want.  In  the  first,  half- 
finished  buildings  and  massy  columns  rise  amidst  the  dawning  eiFulgence 
that  is  streaked  with  rims  of  inextinguishable  light ;  and  a  noble  tree 
in  the  foreground,  ample,  luxuriant,  hangs  and  broods  over  the 
growing  design.  There  is  a  dim  mistiness  spread  over  the  scene,  as 
in  the  beginning  of  things.  The  Evening,  the  companion  to  it,  is 
even  finer.  It  has  all  the  gorgeous  pomp  that  attends  the  meeting  of 
Night  and  Day,  and  a  flood  of  glory  still  prevails  over  the  coming 
shadows.  In  the  cool  of  the  evening,  some  cattle  are  feeding  on  the 
brink  of  a  glassy  stream,  that  reflects  a  mouldering  ruin  on  one  side 
of  the  picture ;  and  so  precise  is  the  touch,  so  true,  so  firm  is  the 
pencilling,  so  classical  the  outline,  that  they  give  one  the  idea  of 
sculptured  cattle,  biting  the  short,  green  turf,  and  seem  an  enchanted 
herd !  They  appear  stamped  on  the  canvas  to  remain  there  for  ever, 
or  as  if  nothing  could  root  them  from  the  spot.  Truth  with  beauty 
suggests  the  feeling  of  immortality.  No  Dutch  picture  ever  suggested 
this  feeling.  The  objects  are  real,  it  is  true  ;  but  not  being  beautiful 
or  impressive,  the  mind  feels  no  wish  to  mould  them  into  a  permanent 
reality,  to  bind  them  fondly  on  the  heart,  or  lock  them  in  the  imagina- 
tion as  in  a  sacred  recess,  safe  from  the  envious  canker  of  time.  No 
one  ever  felt  a  longing,  a  sickness  of  the  heart,  to  see  a  Dutch  land- 
scape twice;  but  those  of  Claude,  after  an  absence  of  years,  have 
this  effect,  and  produce  a  kind  of  calenture.  The  reason  of  the 
difference  is,  that  in  mere  literal  copies  from  nature,  where  the  objects 
are  not  interesting  in  themselves,  the  only  attraction  is  to  see  the 
felicity  of  the  execution ;  and  having  once  witnessed  this,  we  are 
satisfied.  But  there  is  nothing  to  stir  the  fancy,  to  keep  alive  the 
yearnings  of  passion.  We  remember  one  other  picture  (and  but  one) 
in  Lord  Radnor's  Collection,  that  was  of  this  ideal  character.  It 
was  a  Magdalen  by  Guido,  with  streaming  hair,  and  streaming  eyes 
looking  upwards — -full  of  sentiment  and  beauty. 

There  is  but  one  fine  picture  at  Wilton-house,  the  Family  Vandyke ; 
with  a  noble  Gallery  of  antique  marbles,  which  we  may  pronounce  to 
be  invaluable  to  the  lover  of  art  or  to  the  student  of  history  or  human 
nature.  Roman  Emperors  or  Proconsuls,  the  poets,  orators,  and 
almost  all  the  great  men  of  antiquity,  are  here  '  ranged  in  a  row,'  and 
palpably  embodied  either  in  genuine  or  traditional  busts.     Some  of 

57 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

these  indicate  an  almost  preternatural  capacity  and  inspired  awfulness 
of  look,  particularly  some  of  the  earlier  sages  and  fabulists  of  Greece, 
which  we  apprehend  to  be  ideal  representations ;  while  other  more 
modern  and  better  authenticated  ones  of  celebrated  Romans  are 
distinguished  by  the  strength  and  simplicity  of  common  English  heads 
of  the  best  class. — The  large  picture  of  the  Pembroke  Family,  by 
Vandyke,  is  unrivalled  in  its  kind.  It  is  a  history  of  the  time.  It 
throws  us  nearly  two  centuries  back  to  men  and  manners  that  no 
longer  exist.  The  members  of  a  Noble  House  ('tis  a  hundred  and 
sixty  years  since)  are  brought  together  in  propria  persona,  and  appear 
in  all  the  varieties  of  age,  character,  and  costume.  There  are  the  old 
Lord  and  Lady  Pembroke,  who  '  keep  their  state '  raised  somewhat 
above  the  other  groups ; — the  one  a  lively  old  gentleman,  who  seems 
as  if  he  could  once  have  whispered  a  flattering  tale  in  a  fair  lady's 
ear  ;  his  help-mate  looking  a  little  fat  and  sulky  by  his  side,  probably 
calculating  the  expence  of  the  picture,  and  not  well  understanding  the 
event  of  it — there  are  the  daughters,  pretty,  well-dressed,  elegant 
girls,  but  somewhat  insipid,  sentimental,  and  vacant — then  there  are 
the  two  eldest  sons,  that  might  be  said  to  have  walked  out  of  Mr. 
Burke's  description  of  the  age  of  chivalry ;  the  one  a  perfect  courtier, 
a  carpet-knight,  smooth-faced,  handsome,  almost  effeminate,  that 
seems  to  have  moved  all  his  life  to  '  the  mood  of  lutes  and  soft 
recorders,'  decked  in  silks  and  embroidery  like  the  tender  flower 
issuing  from  its  glossy  folds ;  the  other  the  gallant  soldier,  shrewd, 
bold,  hardy,  with  spurred  heel  and  tawny  buskins,  ready  to  '  mount 
on  barbed  steeds,  and  witch  the  world  with  noble  horsemanship' — 
down  to  the  untutored,  carroty-headed  boy,  the  Goose-Gibbie  of  the 
piece,  who  appears  to  have  been  just  dragged  from  the  farm-yard  to 
sit  for  his  picture,  and  stares  about  him  in  as  great  a  heat  and  fright 
as  if  he  had  dropped  from  the  clouds  : — all  in  this  admirable,  living 
composition  is  in  its  place,  in  keeping,  and  bears  the  stamp  of  the  age 
and  of  the  master's  hand.  Even  the  oak-pannels  have  an  elaborate, 
antiquated  look,  and  the  furniture  has  an  aspect  of  cumbrous,  conscious 
dignity.  It  should  not  be  omitted  that  it  was  here  (in  the  house  or 
the  adjoining  magnificent  grounds)  that  Sir  Philip  Sidney  wrote  his 
Arcadia  ;  and  the  story  of  Musidorus  and  Philoclea,  of  Mopsa  and 
Dorcas,  is  quaintly  traced  on  oval  pannels  in  the  principal  drawing- 
room. 

It  is  on  this  account  that  we  are  compelled  to  find  fault  with  the 
Collection  at  Fonthill  Abbey,  because  it  exhibits  no  picture  of 
remarkable  eminence  that  can  be  ranked  as  an  heir-loom  of  the 
imagination — which  cannot  be  spoken  of  but  our  thoughts  take  wing 
and  stretch  themselves  towards  it — the  very  name  of  which  is  music 

S8 


PICTURES   AT   WILTON,   STOURHEAD,  ETC. 

to  the  instructed  ear.  We  would  not  give  a  rush  to  see  any  Collection 
that  does  not  contain  some  single  picture  at  least,  that  haunts  us  with 
an  uneasy  sense  of  joy  for  twenty  miles  of  road,  that  may  cheer  us  at 
intervals  for  twenty  years  of  life  to  come.  Without  some  such 
thoughts  as  these  riveted  in  the  brain,  the  lover  and  disciple  of  art 
would  truly  be  '  of  all  men  the  most  miserable : '  but  with  them 
hovering  round  him,  and  ever  and  anon  shining  with  their  glad  lustre 
into  his  sleepless  soul,  he  has  nothing  to  fear  from  fate,  or  fortune. 
We  look,  and  lo !  here  is  one  at  our  side,  facing  us,  though  far- 
distant.  It  is  the  Young  Man's  Head,  in  the  Louvre,  by  Titian, 
that  is  not  unlike  Jeronymo  della  Porretta  in  Sir  Charles  Grandison. 
What  a  look  is  there  of  calm,  unalterable  self-possession — 

'  Above  all  pain,  all  passion,  and  all  pride  j ' 

that  draws  the  evil  out  of  human  life,  that  while  we  look  at  it 
transfers  the  same  sentiment  to  our  own  breasts,  and  makes  us  feel  as 
if  nothing  mean  or  little  could  ever  disturb  us  again  I  This  is  high 
art ;  the  rest  is  mechanical.  But  there  is  nothing  like  this  at  Fonthill 
(oh  !  no),  but  every  thing  which  is  the  very  reverse.  As  this,  how- 
ever, is  an  extreme  opinion  of  ours,  and  may  be  a  prejudice,  we  shall 
endeavour  to  support  it  by  facts.  There  is  not  then  a  single  Titian 
in  all  this  boasted  and  expensive  Collection — there  is  not  a  Raphael — 
there  is  not  a  Rubens  (except  one  small  sketch) — there  is  not  a 
Guido,  nor  a  Vandyke — there  is  not  a  Rembrandt,  there  is  not  a 
Nicolo  Poussin,  nor  a  fine  Claude.  The  two  Altieri  Claudes,  which 
might  have  redeemed  Fonthill,  Mr.  Beckford  sold.  What  shall  we 
say  to  a  Collection,  which  uniformly  and  deliberately  rejects  every 
great  work,  and  every  great  name  in  art,  to  make  room  for  idle 
rarities  and  curiosities  of  mechanical  skill  ?  It  was  hardly  necessary 
to  build  a  cathedral  to  set  up  a  toy-shop !  Who  would  paint  a 
miniature-picture  to  hang  it  at  the  top  of  the  Monument  ?  This  huge 
pile  (capable  of  better  things)  is  cut  up  into  a  parcel  of  little  rooms, 
and  those  little  rooms  are  stuck  full  of  little  pictures,  and  bijouterie. 
Mr.  Beckford  may  talk  of  his  Diamond  Berchem,  and  so  on  :  this  is 
but  the  language  of  a  petlt-maitre  in  art ;  but  the  author  of  Vathek 
(with  his  leave)  is  not  a. petit-maitre.  His  genius,  as  a  writer,  'hath 
a  devil : '  his  taste  in  pictures  is  the  quintessence  and  rectified  spirit 
of  still-life.  He  seems  not  to  be  susceptible  of  the  poetry  of  painting, 
or  else  to  set  his  face  against  it.  It  is  obviously  a  first  principle  with 
him  to  exclude  whatever  has  feeling  or  imagination — to  polish  the 
surface,  and  suppress  the  soul  of  art — to  proscribe,  by  a  sweeping 
clause  or  at  one  fell  swoop,  every  thing  approaching  to  grace,  or  beauty, 
or  grandeur — to  crush  the  sense  of  pleasure  or  of  power  in  embryo 

59 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

— and  to  reduce  all  nature  and  art,  as  far  as  possible,  to  the  texture 
and  level  of  a  China  dish — smooth,  glittering,  cold,  and  unfeeling ! 
We  do  not  object  so  much  to  the  predilection  for  Teniers,  Wouver- 
mans,  or  Ostade — we  like  to  see  natural  objects  naturally  painted 
— but  we  unequivocally  hate  the  affectedly  mean,  the  elaborately  little, 
the  ostentatiously  perverse  and  distorted,  Polemberg's  walls  of  amber, 
Mieris's  groups  of  steel,  Vanderwerf's  ivory  flesh  ; — yet  these  are  the 
chief  delights  of  the  late  proprietor  of  Fonthill-abbey  !  Is  it  that  his 
mind  is  '  a  volcano  burnt  out,'  and  that  he  likes  his  senses  to  repose 
and  be  gratified  with  Persian  carpets  and  enamelled  pictures  ?  Or 
are  there  not  traces  of  the  same  infirmity  of  feeling  even  in  the  high- 
souled  Vathek,  who  compliments  the  complexion  of  the  two  pages  of 
Fakreddin  as  being  equal  to  '  the  porcelain  of  Franguestan  ? '  Alas  ! 
Who  would  have  thought  that  the  Caliph  Vathek  would  have 
dwindled  down  into  an  Emperor  of  China  and  King  of  Japan  ?  But 
so  it  is. — 

Stourhead,  the  seat  of  Sir  Richard  Colt  Hoare,  did  not  answer 
our  expectations.  But  Stourton,  the  village  where  it  stands,  made  up 
for  our  disappointment.  After  passing  the  park-gate,  which  is  a 
beautiful  and  venerable  relic,  you  descend  into  Stourton  by  a  sharp- 
winding  declivity,  almost  like  going  under-ground,  between  high 
hedges  of  laurel  trees,  and  with  an  expanse  of  woods  and  water  spread 
beneath.  It  is  a  sort  of  rural  Herculaneum,  a  subterranean  retreat. 
The  inn  is  like  a  modernized  guard-house ;  the  village-church  stands 
on  a  lawn  without  any  inclosure ;  a  row  of  cottages  facing  it,  with 
their  white-washed  walls  and  flaunting  honey-suckles,  are  neatness 
itself.  Every  thing  has  an  air  of  elegance,  and  yet  tells  a  tale  of 
other  times.  It  is  a  place  that  might  be  held  sacred  to  stillness  and 
solitary  musing  ! — The  adjoining  mansion  of  Stourhead  commands  an 
extensive  view  of  Salisbury  Plain,  whose  undulating  swells  shew  the 
earth  in  its  primeval  simplicity,  bare,  with  naked  breasts,  and  varied 
in  its  appearance  only  by  the  shadows  of  the  clouds  that  pass  across 
it.  The  view  without  is  pleasing  and  singular  :  there  is  little  within- 
doors to  beguile  attention.  There  is  one  master-piece  of  colouring 
by  Paul  Veronese,  a  naked  child  with  a  dog.  The  tone  of  the  flesh 
is  perfection  itself.  On  praising  this  picture  (which  we  always  do 
when  we  like  a  thing)  we  were  told  it  had  been  criticized  by  a  great 
judge,  Mr.  Beckford  of  Fonthill,  who  had  found  fault  with  the 
execution  as  too  coarse  and  muscular.  We  do  not  wonder — it  is  not 
like  his  own  turnery-ware !  We  should  also  mention  an  exquisite 
Holbein,  the  Head  of  a  Child,  and  a  very  pleasing  little  landscape  by 
Wilson.  Besides  these,  there  are  some  capital  pen-and-ink  drawings 
(views  in  Venice),  by  Canaletti,  and  three  large  copies  after  Guide 

60 


PICTURES   AT  WILTON,   STOURHEAD,  ETC. 

of  the  Venus  attired  by  the  Graces,  the  Andromeda,  and  Herodias's 
Daughter.  They  breathe  the  soul  of  softness  and  grace,  and  remind 
one  of  those  fair,  sylph-like  forms  that  sometimes  descend  upon  the 
earth  with  fatal,  fascinating  looks,  and  that  'tempt  but  to  betray.' 
After  the  cabinet-pictures  at  Fonthill,  even  a  good  copy  of  a  Guido  is 
a  luxury  and  a  relief  to  the  mind :  it  is  something  to  inhale  the  divine 
airs  that  play  around  his  figures,  and  we  are  satisfied  if  we  can  but 
« trace  his  footsteps,  and  his  skirts  far-off  behold.'  The  rest  of  this 
Collection  is,  for  the  most  part,  trash  :  either  Italian  pictures  painted  in 
the  beginning  of  the  last  century,  or  English  ones  in  the  beginning  of 
this.  It  gave  us  pain  to  see  some  of  the  latter ;  and  we  willingly 
draw  a  veil  over  the  humiliation  of  the  art,  in  the  age  and  country 
that  we  live  in.  We  ought,  however,  to  mention  a  portrait  of  a 
youth  (the  present  proprietor  of  Stourhead)  by  Sir  Joshua  Reynolds, 
which  is  elegant,  brilliant,  '  though  in  ruins ; '  and  a  spirited  portrait 
by  Northcote,  of  a  lady  talking  on  her  fingers,  may,  perhaps,  challenge 
an  exception  for  itself  to  the  above  general  censure. 

We  wish  our  readers  to  go  to  Petworth,  the  seat  of  Lord 
Egremont,  where  they  will  find  the  coolest  grottos  and  the  finest 
Vandykes  in  the  world.  There  are  eight  or  ten  of  the  latter  that  are 
not  to  be  surpassed  by  the  art  of  man,  and  that  we  have  no  power 
either  to  admire  or  praise  as  they  deserve.  For  simplicity,  for 
richness,  for  truth  of  nature,  for  airiness  of  execution,  nothing  ever 
was  or  can  be  finer.  We  will  only  mention  those  of  the  Earl  and 
Countess  of  Northumberland,  Lord  Newport,  and  Lord  Goring, 
Lord  Strafford,  and  Lady  Carr,  and  the  Duchess  of  Devonshire. 
He  who  possesses  these  portraits  is  rich  indeed,  if  he  has  an  eye  to 
see,  and  a  heart  to  feel  them.  The  one  of  Lord  Northumberland  in 
the  Tower  is  not  so  good,  though  it  is  thought  better  by  the  multitude. 
That  is,  there  is  a  subject — something  to  talk  about ;  but  in  fact,  the 
expression  is  not  that  of  grief,  or  thought,  or  of  dignified  resignation, 
but  of  a  man  in  ill  health.  Vandyke  was  a  mere  portrait-painter,  but 
he  was  a  perfect  one.  His  forte  was  not  the  romantic  or  pathetic  ; 
he  was  '  of  the  court,  courtly.'  He  had  a  patent  from  the  hand  of 
nature  to  paint  lords  and  ladies  in  prosperity  and  quite  at  their  ease. 
There  are  some  portraits  by  Sir  Joshua  Reynolds  in  this  Collection ; 
and  there  are  people  who  persist  in  naming  him  and  Vandyke  in  the 
same  day.  The  rest  of  the  Collection  consists  (for  the  most  part)  of 
staircase  and  family  pictures.  But  there  are  some  admirable  statues 
to  be  seen  here,  that  it  would  ask  a  morning's  leisure  to  study 
properly. 


6i 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

PICTURES  AT  BURLEIGH  HOUSE  i 

Burleigh  !  thy  groves  are  leafless,  thy  walls  are  naked — 
'  And  dull,  cold  winter  does  inhabit  here.' 

The  yellow  evening  rays  gleam  through  thy  fretted  Gothic  windows ; 
but  I  only  feel  the  rustling  of  withered  branches  strike  chill  to  my 
breast ;  it  was  not  so  twenty  years  ago.  Thy  groves  were  leafless 
then  as  now :  it  was  the  middle  of  winter  twice  that  I  visited  thee 
before  ;  but  the  lark  mounted  in  the  sky,  and  the  sun  smote  ray 
youthful  blood  with  its  slant  ray,  and  the  ploughman  whistled  as  he 
drove  his  team  afield ;  Hope  spread  out  its  glad  vistas  through  thy 
fair  domains,  oh,  Burleigh !  Fancy  decked  thy  walls  with  works  of 
sovereign  art,  and  it  was  spring,  not  winter,  in  my  breast.  All  is 
still  the  same,  like  a  petrification  of  the  mind — the  same  things  in 
the  same  places ;  but  their  effect  is  not  the  same  upon  me.  I  am 
twenty  years  the  worse  for  -wear  and  tear.  What  is  become  of  the 
never-ending  studious  thoughts  that  brought  their  own  reward  or 
promised  good  to  mankind  ?  of  the  tears  that  started  welcome  and 
unbidden  ?  of  the  sighs  that  whispered  future  peace  ?  of  the  smiles 
that  shone,  not  in  my  face  indeed,  but  that  cheered  my  heart,  and 
made  a  sunshine  there  when  all  was  gloom  around  ?  That  fairy 
vision — that  invisible  glory,  by  which  I  was  once  attended — ushered 
into  life,  has  left  my  side,  and  '  faded  to  the  light  of  common  day,' 
and  I  now  see  what  is,  or  has  been — not  what  may  lie  hid  in  Time's 
bright  circle  and  golden  chaplet !  Perhaps  this  is  the  characteristic 
difference  between  youth  and  a  later  period  of  life — that  we,  by 
degrees,  learn  to  take  things  more  as  we  find  them,  call  them  more 
by  their  right  names ;  that  we  feel  the  warmth  of  summer,  but  the 
winter's  cold  as  well ;  that  we  see  beauties,  but  can  spy  defects  in  the 
fairest  face ;  and  no  longer  look  at  every  thing  through  the  genial 
atmosphere  of  our  own  existence.  We  grow  more  literal  and  less 
credulous  every  day,  lose  much  enjoyment,  and  gain  some  useful,  and 
more  useless  knowledge.  The  second  time  I  passed  along  the  road 
that  skirts  Burleigh  Park,  the  morning  was  dank  and  '  ways  were 
mire.'  I  saw  and  felt  it  not :  my  mind  was  otherwise  engaged. 
Ah !  thought  I,  there  is  that  fine  old  head  by  Rembrandt ;  there 
within  those  cold  grey  walls,  the  painter  of  old  age  is  enshrined, 
immortalized  in  some  of  his  inimitable  works !  The  name  of 
Rembrandt  lives  in  the  fame  of  him  who  stamped  it  with  renown, 
while  the  name  of  Burleigh  is  kept  up  by  the  present  owner.     An 

*  From  the  New  Monthly  Magazine, 
62 


PICTURES   AT  BURLEIGH   HOUSE 

artist  survives  in  the  issue  of  his  brain  to  all  posterity— a  lord  is 
nothing  without  the  issue  of  his  body  lawfully  begotten,  and  is  lost 
in  a  long  line  of  illustrious  ancestors.  So  much  higher  is  genius  than 
rank — such  is  the  difference  between  fame  and  title !  A  great  name 
in  art  lasts  for  centuries — it  requires  twenty  generations  of  a  noble 
house  to  keep  alive  the  memory  of  the  first  founder  for  the  same 
length  of  time.  So  I  reasoned,  and  was  not  a  little  proud  of  my 
discovery. 

In  this  dreaming  mood,  dreaming  of  deathless  works  and  deathless 
names,  I  went  on  to  Peterborough,  passing,  as  it  were,  under  an 
arch-way  of  Fame, 

'  and  still  walking  under, 

Found  some  new  matter  to  look  up  and  wonder.' 

I  had  business  there :  I  will  not  say  what.  I  could  at  this  time  do 
nothing.  I  could  not  write  a  line — I  could  not  draw  a  stroke.  '  I 
was  brutish ; '  though  not  '  like  warlike  as  the  wolf,  nor  subtle  as  the 
fox  for  prey.'  In  words,  in  looks,  in  deeds,  I  was  no  better  than  a 
changeling.  Why  then  do  I  set  so  much  value  on  my  existence 
formerly  ?  Oh  God  !  that  I  could  but  be  for  one  day,  one  hour,  nay 
but  for  an  instant,  (to  feel  it  in  all  the  plentitude  of  unconscious  bliss, 
and  take  one  long,  last,  lingering  draught  of  that  full  brimming  cup  of 
thoughtless  freedom,)  what  then  I  was — that  I  might,  as  in  a  trance, 
a  waking  dream,  hear  the  hoarse  murmur  of  the  bargemen,  as  the 
Minster  tower  appeared  in  the  dim  twilight,  come  up  from  the  willowy 
stream,  sounding  low  and  underground  like  the  voice  of  the  bittern — 
that  I  might  paint  that  field  opposite  the  window  where  I  lived,  and 
feel  that  there  was  a  green,  dewy  moisture  in  the  tone,  beyond  my 
pencil's  reach,  but  thus  gaining  almost  a  new  sense,  and  watching  the 
birth  of  new  objects  without  me — that  I  might  stroll  down  Peter- 
borough bank,  (a  winter's  day,)  and  see  the  fresh  marshes  stretching 
out  in  endless  level  perspective,  (as  if  Paul  Potter  had  painted  them,) 
with  the  cattle,  the  windmills,  and  the  red-tiled  cottages,  gleaming  in 
the  sun  to  the  very  verge  of  the  horizon,  and  watch  the  fieldfares  in 
innumerable  flocks,  gamboling  in  the  air,  and  sporting  in  the  sun,  and 
racing  before  the  clouds,  making  summersaults,  and  dazzling  the  eye 
by  throwing  themselves  into  a  thousand  figures  and  movements — that 
I  might  go,  as  then,  a  pilgrimage  to  the  town  where  my  mother  was 
born,  and  visit  the  poor  farm-house  where  she  was  brought  up,  and 
lean  upon  the  gate  where  she  told  me  she  used  to  stand  when  a  child 
of  ten  years  old  and  look  at  the  setting  sun! — I  could  do  all  this 
still  ;  but  with  different  feelings.  As  our  hopes  leave  us,  we  lose  even 
our  interest  and  regrets  for  the  past.     I  had  at  this  time,  simple  as  I 

63 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

seemed,  many  resources.  I  could  in  some  sort  '  play  at  bowls  with 
the  sun  and  moon ; '  or,  at  any  rate,  there  was  no  question  in  meta- 
physics that  I  could  not  bandy  to  and  fro,  as  one  might  play  at 
cup-and-ball,  for  twenty,  thirty,  forty  miles  of  the  great  North  Road, 
and  at  it  again,  the .  next  day,  as  fresh  as  ever.  I  soon  get  tired  of 
this  now,  and  wonder  how  I  managed  formerly.  I  knew  Tom  Jones 
by  heart,  and  was  deep  in  Peregrine  Pickle.  I  was  intimately 
acquainted  with  all  the  heroes  and  heroines  of  Richardson's  romances, 
and  could  turn  from  one  to  the  other  as  I  pleased.  I  could  con  over 
that  single  passage  in  Pamela  about  '  her  lumpish  heart,'  and  never 
have  done  admiring  the  skill  of  the  author  and  the  truth  of  nature. 
I  had  my  sports  and  recreations  too,  some  such  as  these  following : — 

'  To  see  the  sun  to  bed,  and  to  arise. 
Like  some  hot  amourist,  with  glowing  eyes 
Bursting  the  lazy  bands  of  sleep  that  bound  him, 
With  all  his  fires  and  travelling  glories  round  him. 
Sometimes  the  moon  on  soft  night  clouds  to  rest. 
Like  beauty  nestling  in  a  young  man's  breast. 
And  all  the  winking  stars,  her  handmaids,  keep 
Admiring  silence  while  those  lovers  sleep. 
Sometimes  outstretcht,  in  very  idleness, 
Nought  doing,  saying  little,  thinking  less, 
To  view  the  leaves,  thin  dancers  upon  air, 
Go  eddying  round  and  small  birds  how  they  fare, 
When  Mother  Autumn  fills  their  beaks  with  com, 
Filch'd  from  the  careless  Amalthea's  horn : 
And  how  the  woods  berries  and  worms  provide 
Without  their  pains,  when  earth  has  nought  beside 
To  answer  their  small  wants. 
To  view  the  graceful  deer  come  tripping  by. 
Then  stop  and  gaze,  then  turn,  they  know  not  why. 
Like  bashful  younkers  in  society. 
To  mark  the  structure  of  a  plant  or  tree. 
And  all  fair  things  of  earth,  how  fair  they  be.' 

I  have  wandered  far  enough  from  Burleigh  House ;  but  I  had 
some  associations  about  it  which  I  could  not  well  get  rid  of,  without 
troubling  the  reader  with  them. 

The  Rembrandts  disappointed  me  quite.  I  could  hardly  find  a 
trace  of  the  impression  which  had  been  inlaid  in  my  imagination.  I 
might  as  well 

'  Hunt  half  a  day  for  a  forgotten  dream.' 

Instead  of  broken  wrinkles  and  indented  flesh,  I  saw  hard  lines  and 
stained  canvas.     I  had  seen  better  Rembrandts  since,  and  had  learned 
64 


PICTURES   AT  BURLEIGH   HOUSE 

to  see  nature  better.  Was  it  a  disadvantage,  then,  that  for  twenty 
years  I  had  carried  this  fine  idea  in  my  brain,  enriching  it  from  time 
to  time  from  my  observations  of  nature  or  art,  and  raising  it  as  they 
were  raised  ;  or  did  it  much  signify  that  it  was  disturbed  at  last  ? 
Neither.  The  picture  was  nothing  to  me  :  it  was  the  idea  it  had 
suggested.  The  one  hung  on  the  wall  at  Burleigh ;  the  other  was  an 
heir-loom  in  my  mind.  Was  it  destroyed,  because  the  picture,  after 
long  absence,  did  not  answer  to  it  ?  No.  There  were  other  pictures 
in  the  world  that  did,  and  objects  in  nature  still  more  perfect.  This 
is  the  melancholy  privilege  of  art ;  it  exists  chiefly  in  idea,  and  is  not 
liable  to  serious  reverses.  If  we  are  disappointed  in  the  character  of 
one  we  love,  it  breaks  the  illusion  altogether  ;  for  we  drew  certain 
consequences  from  a  face.  If  an  old  friendship  is  broken  up,  we 
cannot  tell  how  to  replace  it,  without  the  aid  of  habit  and  a  length  of 
time.  But  a  picture  is  nothing  but  a  face ;  it  interests  us  only  in  idea. 
Hence  we  need  never  be  afraid  of  raising  our  standard  of  taste  too 
high ;  for  the  mind  rises  with  it,  exalted  and  refined,  and  can  never 
be  much  injured  by  finding  out  its  casual  mistakes.  Like  the  possessor 
of  a  splendid  collection,  who  is  indifferent  to  or  turns  away  from 
common  pictures,  we  have  a  selecter  gallery  in  our  own  minds.  In 
this  sense,  the  knowledge  of  art  is  its  oiun  exceeding  great  reward. 
But  is  there  not  danger  that  we  may  become  too  fastidious,  and  have 
nothing  left  to  admire  ?  None :  for  the  conceptions  of  the  human 
soul  cannot  rise  superior  to  the  power  of  art ;  or  if  they  do,  then  we 
have  surely  every  reason  to  be  satisfied  with  them.  The  mind,  in 
what  depends  upon  itself  alone,  '  soon  rises  from  defeat  unhurt,' 
though  its  pride  may  be  for  a  moment  '  humbled  by  such  rebuke,' 

'  And  in  its  liquid  texture  mortal  wound 
Receives  no  more  than  can  the  fluid  air.' 

As  an  illustration  of  the  same  thing,  there  are  two  Claudes  at 
Burleigh,  which  certainly  do  not  come  up  to  the  celebrity  of  the 
artist's  name.  They  did  not  please  me  formerly  :  the  sky,  the  water, 
the  trees  seemed  all  too  blue,  too  much  of  the  colour  of  indigo.  But  I 
believed,  and  wondered.  I  could  no  longer  admire  these  specimens 
of  the  artist  at  present,  but  assuredly  my  admiration  of  the  artist  him- 
self was  not  less  than  before ;  for  since  then,  I  had  seen  other  works 
by  the  same  hand, 

'  inimitable  on  earth 

By  model  or  by  shading  pencil  drawn,' — 

surpassing   every  idea  that  the  mind   could  form  of  art,  except  by 

having  seen  them.     I  remember  one  in  particular  that  Walsh  Porter 

VOL.  IX.  :  E  65 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

had  (a  bow-shot  beyond  all  others)- — a  vernal  landscape,  an  'Hes- 
perian fable  true,'  with  a  blue  unclouded  sky,  and  green  trees  and 
grey  turrets  and  an  unruffled  sea  beyond.  But  never  was  there  sky 
so  soft  or  trees  so  clad  with  spring,  such  air-drawn  towers  or  such 
halcyon  seas :  Zephyr  seemed  to  fan  the  air,  and  Nature  looked  on 
and  smiled.  The  name  of  Claude  has  alone  something  in  it  that 
softens  and  harmonises  the  mind.  It  touches  a  magic  chord.  Oh  ! 
matchless  scenes,  oh !  orient  skies,  bright  with  purple  and  gold  ;  ye 
opening  glades  and  distant  sunny  vales,  glittering  with  fleecy  flocks, 
pour  all  your  enchantment  into  my  soul,  let  it  reflect  your  chastened 
image,  and  forget  all  meaner  things!  Perhaps  the  most  affecting 
tribute  to  the  memory  of  this  great  artist  is  the  character  drawn  of 
him  by  an  eminent  master,  in  his  Dream  of  a  Painter. 

'  On  a  sudden  I  was  surrounded  by  a  thick  cloud  or  mist,  and  my  guide 
wafted  me  through  the  air,  till  we  alighted  on  a  most  delicious  rural  spot. 
I  perceived  it  was  the  early  hour  of  the  morn,  when  the  sun  had  not  risen 
above  the  horizon.  We  were  alone,  except  that  at  a  little  distance  a 
young  shepherd  played  on  his  flageolet  as  he  walked  before  his  herd, 
conducting  them  from  the  fold  to  the  pasture.  The  elevated  pastoral  air 
he  played  charmed  me  by  its  simplicity,  and  seemed  to  animate  his  obedient 
flock.  The  atmosphere  was  clear  and  perfectly  calm  :  and  now  the  rising 
sun  gradually  illumined  the  fine  landscape,  and  began  to  discover  to  our 
view  the  distant  country  of  immense  extent.  I  stood  awhile  in  expectation 
of  what  might  next  present  itself  of  dazzling  splendour,  when  the  only 
object  which  appeared  to  fill  this  natural,  grand,  and  simple  scene,  was  a 
rustic  who  entered,  not  far  from  the  place  where  we  stood,  who  by  his 
habiliments  seemed  nothing  better  than  a  peasant ;  he  led  a  poor  little  ass, 
which  was  loaded  with  all  the  implements  required  by  a  painter  in  his  work. 
After  advancing  a  few  paces  he  stood  still,  and  with  an  air  of  rapture 
seemed  to  contemplate  the  rising  sun  :  he  next  fell  on  his  knees,  directed 
his  eyes  towards  heaven,  crossed  himself,  and  then  went  on  with  eager 
looks,  as  if  to  make  choice  of  the  most  advantageous  spot  from  which  to 
make  his  studies  as  a  painter.  "This,"  said  my  conductor,  "is  that 
Claude  Gelee  of  LoiTaine,  who,  nobly  disdaining  the  low  employment  to 
which  he  was  originally  bred,  left  it  with  all  its  advantages  of  competence 
and  ease  to  embrace  his  present  state  of  poverty,  in  order  to  adorn  the 
world  with  works  of  most  accomplished  excellence." ' 

There  is  a  little  Paul  Brill  at  Burleigh,  in  the  same  room  with  the 
Rembrandts,  that  dazzled  me  many  years  ago,  and  delighted  me  the 
other  day.  It  looked  as  sparkling  as  if  the  sky  came  through 
the  frame.  I  found,  or  fancied  I  found,  those  pictures  the  best  that 
I  remembered  before,  though  they  might  in  the  interval  have  faded  a 
little  to  my  eyes,  or  lost  some  of  their  original  brightness.  I  did  not 
see  the  small  head  of  Queen  Mary  by  Holbein,  which  formerly  struck 

66 


PICTURES   AT  BURLEIGH   HOUSE 

me  so  fovcibly  ;  but  I  have  little  doubt  respecting  it,  for  Holbein  was 
a  sure  hand ;  he  only  wanted  effect,  and  this  picture  looked  through 
you.  One  of  my  old  favourites  was  the  Head  of  an  Angel,  by  Guido, 
nearly  a  profile,  looking  up,  and  with  wings  behind  the  back.  It  was 
hung  lower  than  it  used  to  be,  and  had,  I  thought,  a  look  less  aerial, 
less  heavenly  ;  but  there  was  still  a  pulpy  softness  in  it,  a  tender  grace, 
an  expression  unutterable — which  only  the  pencil,  his  pencil,  could 
convey  !  And  are  we  not  then  beholden  to  the  art  for  these  glimpses 
of  Paradise  ?  Surely,  there  is  a  sweetness  in  Guido's  heads,  as  there 
is  also  a  music  in  his  name.  If  Raphael  did  more,  it  was  not  with  the 
same  ease.  His  heads  have  more  meaning  ;  but  Guido's  have  a  look 
of  youthful  innocence,  which  his  are  without.  As  to  the  boasted 
picture  of  Christ  by  Carlo  Dolce,  if  a  well-painted  table-cloth  and 
silver-cup  are  worth  three  thousand  guineas,  the  picture  is  so,  but  not 
else.  Yet  one  touch  of  Paul  Veronese  is  worth  all  this  enamelling 
twice  over.  The  head  has  a  wretched  mawkish  expression,  utterly 
unbecoming  the  character  it  professes  to  represent.  But  I  will  say  no 
more  about  it.  The  Bath  of  Seneca  is  one  of  Luca  Jordano's  best 
performances,  and  has  considerable  interest  and  effect.  Among  other 
historical  designs,  there  is  one  of  Jacob's  Dream,  with  the  angels 
ascending  and  descending  on  a  kind  of  stairs.  The  conception  is 
very  answerable  to  the  subject ;  but  the  execution  is  not  in  any  high 
degree  spirited  or  graceful.  The  mind  goes  away  no  gainer  from  the 
picture.  Rembrandt  alone  perhaps  could  add  any  thing  to  this 
subject.  Of  him  it  might  be  said,  that  '  his  light  shone  in  darkness !  ' 
— The  wreaths  of  flowers  and  foliage  carved  in  wood  on  the  wainscots 
and  ceiling  of  many  of  the  rooms,  by  the  celebrated  Grinling  Gibbons 
in  Charles  the  Second's  time,  shew  a  wonderful  lightness  and  facility 
of  hand,  and  give  pleasure  to  the  eye.  The  other  ornaments  and 
curiosities  I  need  not  mention,  as  they  are  carefully  pointed  out  by 
the  housekeeper  to  the  admiring  visitor.  There  are  two  heads,  how- 
ever, (one  of  them  happens  to  have  a  screen  placed  before  it)  which  I 
would  by  no  means  wish  any  one  to  pass  over,  who  is  an  artist,  or 
feels  the  slightest  interest  in  the  art.  They  are,  I  should  suppose 
unquestionably,  the  original  studies  by  Raphael  of  the  heads  of  the 
Virgin  and  Joseph  in  his  famous  picture  of  the  Madonna  of  the  Crown. 
The  Virgin  is  particularly  beautiful,  and  in  the  finest  preservation,  as 
indeed  are  all  his  genuine  pictures.  The  canvas  is  not  quite  covered 
in  some  places ;  the  colours  are  as  fresh  as  if  newly  laid  on,  and  the 
execution  is  as  firm  and  vigorous  as  if  his  hand  had  just  left  it.  It 
shews  us  how  this  artist  wrought.  The  head  is,  no  doubt,  a  highly- 
finished  study  from  nature,  done  for  a  particular  purpose,  and  worked 
up  according  to  the  painter's  conception,  but  still  retaining  all  the 

67 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

force  and  truth  of  individuality.  He  got  all  he  could  from  Nature, 
and  gave  all  he  could  to  her  in  return.  If  Raphael  had  merely 
sketched  this  divine  face  on  the  canvas  from  the  idea  in  his  own 
mind,  why  not  stamp  it  on  the  larger  composition  at  once  ?  He 
could  work  it  up  and  refine  upon  it  there  just  as  well,  and  it  would 
almost  necessarily  undergo  some  alteration  in  being  transferred  thither 
afterwards.  But  if  it  was  done  as  a  careful  copy  from  Nature  in  the 
first  instance,  the  present  was  the  only  way  in  which  he  could  proceed, 
or  indeed  by  which  he  could  arrive  at  such  consummate  excellence. 
The  head  of  the  Joseph  (leaning  on  the  hand  and  looking  down)  is 
fine,  but  neither  so  fine  as  the  companion  to  it,  nor  is  it  by  any  means 
so  elaborately  worked  up  in  the  sketch  before  us. 

I  am  no  teller  of  stories ;  but  there  is  one  belonging  to  Burleigh- 
House,  of  which  I  happen  to  know  some  of  the  particulars.  The 
late  Earl  of  Exeter  had  been  divorced  from  his  first  wife,  a  woman 
of  fashion,  and  of  somewhat  more  gaiety  of  manners  than  '  lords  who 
love  their  ladies  like.'  He  determined  to  seek  out  a  second  wife  in 
an  humbler  sphere  of  life,  and  that  it  should  be  one  who,  having  no 
knowledge  of  his  rank,  should  love  him  for  himself  alone.  For  this 
purpose,  he  went  and  settled  incognito  (under  the  name  of  Mr.  Jones) 
at  Hodnet,  an  obscure  village  in  Shropshire.  He  made  overtures  to 
one  or  two  damsels  in  the  neighbourhood,  but  they  were  too  knowing 
to  be  taken  in  by  him.  His  manners  were  not  boorish,  his  mode  of 
life  was  retired,  it  was  odd  how  he  got  his  livelihood,  and  at  last,  he 
began  to  be  taken  for  a  highwayman.  In  this  dilemma  he  turned  to 
Miss  Hoggins,  the  eldest  daughter  of  a  small  farmer,  at  whose  house 
he  lodged.  Miss  Hoggins,  it  might  seem,  had  not  been  used  to 
romp  with  the  clowns  :  there  was  something  in  the  manners  of  their 
quiet,  but  eccentric  guest  that  she  liked.  As  he  found  that  he  had 
inspired  her  with  that  kind  of  regard  which  he  wished  for,  he  made 
honourable  proposals  to  her,  and  at  the  end  of  some  months,  they 
were  married,  without  his  letting  her  know  who  he  was.  They  set 
off  in  a  post-chaise  from  her  father's  house,  and  travelled  homewards 
across  the  country.  In  this  manner  they  arrived  at  Stamford,  and 
passed  through  the  town  without  stopping,  till  they  came  to  the 
entrance  of  Burleigh-Park,  which  is  on  the  outside  of  it.  The  gates 
flew  open,  the  chaise  entered,  and  drove  down  the  long  avenue  of 
trees  that  leads  up  to  the  front  of  this  fine  old  mansion.  As  they 
drew  nearer  to  it,  and  she  seemed  a  little  surprised  where  they  were 
going,  he  said,  '  Well,  my  dear,  this  is  Burleigh-House  ;  it  is  the 
home  I  have  promised  to  bring  you  to,  and  you  are  the  Countess  of 
Exeter !  '  It  is  said,  the  shock  of  this  discovery  was  too  much  for 
this  young  creature,  and  that  she  never  recovered  it.     It  was  a  sensa- 

68 


PICTURES   AT  OXFORD   AND   BLENHEIM 

tion  worth  dying  for.  The  world  we  live  in  was  worth  making,  had 
it  been  only  for  this.  Te  Thousand  and  One  Tales  of  the  jiirabian 
Night's  Entertainment !  hide  your  diminished  heads !  I  never  wish 
to  have  been  a  lord,  but  when  I  think  of  this  story. 


PICTURES  AT  OXFORD  AND  BLENHEIM 

Rome  has  been  called  the  '  Sacred  City  : ' — might  not  our  Oxford 
be  called  so  too  ?  There  is  an  air  about  it,  resonant  of  joy  and  hope  : 
it  speaks  with  a  thousand  tongues  to  the  heart :  it  waves  its  mighty 
shadow  over  the  imagination :  it  stands  in  lowly  sublimity,  on  the 
'  hill  of  ages  ; '  and  points  with  prophetic  fingers  to  the  sky :  it  greets 
the  eager  gaze  from  afar,  '  with  glistering  spires  and  pinnacles  adorned,' 
that  shine  with  an  internal  light  as  with  the  lustre  of  setting  suns  ;  and 
a  dream  and  a  glory  hover  round  its  head,  as  the  spirits  of  former 
times,  a  throng  of  intellectual  shapes,  are  seen  retreating  or  advancing 
to  the  eye  of  memory  :  its  streets  are  paved  with  the  names  of  learning 
that  can  never  wear  out :  its  green  quadrangles  breathe  the  silence  of 
thought,  conscious  of  the  weight  of  yearnings  innumerable  after  the 
past,  of  loftiest  aspirations  for  the  future :  Isis  babbles  of  the  Muse, 
its  waters  are  from  the  springs  of  Helicon,  its  Christ-Church  meadows, 
classic,  Elysian  fields! — We  could  pass  our  lives  in  Oxford  without 
having  or  wanting  any  other  idea — that  of  the  place  is  enough.  We 
imbibe  the  air  of  thought;  we  stand  in  the  presence  of  learning.  We 
are  admitted  into  the  Temple  of  Fame,  we  feel  that  we  are  in  the 
sanctuary,  on  holy  ground,  and  '  hold  high  converse  with  the  mighty 
dead.'  The  enlightened  and  the  ignorant  are  on  a  level,  if  they  have 
but  faith  in  the  tutelary  genius  of  the  place.  We  may  be  wise  by 
proxy,  and  studious  by  prescription.  Time  has  taken  upon  himself 
the  labour  of  thinking  ;  and  accumulated  libraries  leave  us  leisure  to 
be  dull.  There  is  no  occasion  to  examine  the  buildings,  the  churches, 
the  colleges,  by  the  rules  of  architecture,  to  reckon  up  the  streets,  to 
compare  it  with  Cambridge  (Cambridge  lies  out  of  the  way,  on  one  ■ 
side  of  the  world) — but  woe  to  him  who  does  not  feel  in  passing 
through  Oxford  that  he  is  in  '  no  mean  city,'  that  he  is  surrounded 
with  the  monuments  and  lordly  mansions  of  the  mind  of  man,  out- 
vying in  pomp  and  splendour  the  courts  and  palaces  of  princes,  rising 
like  an  exhalation  in  the  night  of  ignorance,  and  triumphing  over 
barbaric  foes,  saying,  '  All  eyes  shall  see  me,  and  all  knees  shall  bow 
to  me ! ' — as  the  shrine  where  successive  ages  came  to  pay  their  pious 
vows,  and  slake  the  sacred  thirst  of  knowledge,  where  youthful  hopes 
(an  endless  flight)  soared  to  truth  and  good,  and  where  the  retired 

69 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

and  lonely  student  brooded  over  the  historic  or  over  fancy's^  page, 
imposing  high  tasks  for  himself,  framing  high  destinies  for  the  race 
of  man — the  lamp,  the  mine,  the  well-head  from  whence  the  spark 
of  learning  was  kindled,  its  stream  flowed,  its  treasures  were  spread 
out  through  the  remotest  corners  of  the  land  and  to  distant  nations. 
Let  him  then  who  is  fond  of  indulging  in  a  dream-like  existence  go 
to  Oxford  and  stay  there  ;  let  him  study  this  magnificent  spectacle, 
the  same  under  all  aspects,  with  its  mental  twilight  tempering  the 
glare  of  noon,  or  mellowing  the  silver  moonlight ;  let  him  wander  in 
her  sylvan  suburbs,  or  linger  in  her  cloistered  halls  ;  but  let  him  not 
catch  the  din  of  scholars  or  teachers,  or  dine  or  sup  with  them,  or 
speak  a  word  to  any  of  the  privileged  inhabitants ;  for  if  he  does,  the 
spell  will  be  broken,  the  poetry  and  the  religion  gone,  and  the  palace 
of  enchantment  will  melt  from  his  embrace  into  thin  air ! 

The  only  Collection  of  Pictures  at  Oxford  is  that  at  the  RadclifFe 
Library  ;  bequeathed  by  Sir  William  Guise.  It  is  so  far  appropriate 
that  it  is  dingy,  solemn,  old ;  and  we  would  gladly  leave  it  to  its 
repose ;  but  where  criticism  comes,  affection  '  clappeth  his  wings, 
and  straightway  he  is  gone.'  Most  of  the  pictures  are  either  copies, 
or  spoiled,  or  never  were  good  for  any  thing.  There  is,  however,  a 
Music  Piece  by  Titian,  which  bears  the  stamp  of  his  hand,  and  is 
'majestic,  though  in  ruins.'  It  represents  three  young  ladies 
practising  at  a  harpsichord,  with  their  music-master  looking  on.  One 
of  the  girls  is  tall,  with  prominent  features  seen  in  profile,  but 
exquisitely  fair,  and  with  a  grave  expression ;  the  other  is  a  lively, 
good-humoured  girl,  in  a  front  view ;  and  the  third  leans  forward 
from  behind,  looking  down  with  a  demure,  reserved,  sentimental  cast 
of  countenance,  but  very  pretty,  and  much  like  an  English  face. 
The  teacher  has  a  manly,  intelligent  countenance,  with  a  certain 
blended  air  of  courtesy  and  authority.  It  is  a  fascinating  picture, 
to  our  thinking ;  and  has  that  marked  characteristic  look,  belonging 
to  each  individual  and  to  the  subject,  which  is  always  to  be  found  in 
Titian's  groups.  We  also  noticed  a  dingy,  melancholy-looking  Head 
over  the  window  of  the  farthest  room,  said  to  be  a  Portrait  of 
Vandyke,  with  something  striking  in  the  tone  and  expression  ;  and  a 
small  Adam  and  Eve  driven  out  of  Paradise,  attributed  to  Giuseppe 
Ribera,  which  has  considerable  merit.  The  amateur  will  here  find 
continual  copies  (of  an  indifferent  class)  of  many  of  his  old  favourite 
pictures  of  the  Italian  school,  Titian,  Domenichino,  Correggio,  and 
others.  But  the  most  valuable  part  of  the  Collection  consists  of  four 
undoubted  Heads  cut  out  of  one  of  the  Cartoons,  which  was  destroyed 
by  fire  about  a  hundred  years  ago  :  they  are  here  preserved  in  their 
pristine  integrity.     They  shew  us  what  the  Cartoons  were.     They 

70 


PICTURES   AT   OXFORD   AND   BLENHEIM 

have  all  the  spirit  and  freedom  of  Raphael's  hand,  but  without  any 
of  the  blotches  and  smearing  of  those  at  Hampton  Court ;  with 
which  the  damp  of  outhouses  and  the  dews  of  heaven  have  evidently 
had  nearly  as  much  to  do  as  the  painter.  Two  are  Heads  of  men, 
and  two  of  women  ;  one  of  the  last,  Rachel  'weeping  for  her  Children, 
and  another  still  finer  (both  are  profiles)  in  which  all  the  force  and 
boldness  of  masculine  understanding  is  combined  with  feminine  soft- 
ness of  expression.  The  large,  ox-like  eye,  a  '  lucid  mirror,'  with 
the  eye-lids  drooping,  and  the  long  eye-lashes  distinctly  marked,  the 
straight  scrutinizing  nose,  the  full,  but  closed  lips,  the  matronly  chin 
and  high  forehead,  altogether  convey  a  character  of  matured  thought 
and  expansive  feeling,  such  as  is  seldom  to  be  met  with.  Rachel 
•weeping  for  her  Children  has  a  sterner  and  more  painful,  but  a  very 
powerful  expression.  It  is  heroic,  rather  than  pathetic.  The  Heads 
of  the  men  are  spirited  and  forcible,  but  they  are  distinguished  chiefly 
by  the  firmness  of  the  outline,  and  the  sharpness  and  mastery  of  the 
execution. 

Blenheim  is  a  morning's  walk  from  Oxford,  and  is  not  an  unworthy 
appendage  to  it — 

'  And  fast  by  hanging  in  a  golden  chain 
This  pendent  world,  in  bigness  as  a  star 
Of  smallest  magnitude,  close  by  the  moon  ! ' 

Blenheim  is  not  inferior  in  waving  woods  and  sloping  lawns  and 
smooth  waters  to  Pembroke's  princely  domain,  or  to  the  grounds  of 
any  other  park  we  know  of.  The  building  itself  is  Gothic,  capricious, 
and  not  imposing — a  conglomeration  of  pigeon-houses — 

'  In  form  resembling  a  goose  pie.' 

But  as  a  receptacle  for  works  of  art,  (with  the  exception  of  Cleveland 
House,)  it  is  unrivalled  in  this  country.  There  is  not  a  bad  picture 
in  it :  the  interest  is  sustained  by  rich  and  noble  performances  from 
first  to  last.  It  abounds  in  Rubens'  works.  The  old  Duchess  of 
Marlborough  was  fond  of  the  historical  pieces  of  this  great  painter ; 
she  had,  during  her  husband's  wars  and  negociations  in  Flanders,  a 
fine  opportunity  of  culling  them,  '  as  one  picks  pears,  saying,  this  I 
like,  that  I  like  still  better  :  '  and  from  the  selection  she  has  made, 
it  appears  as  if  she  understood  the  master's  genius  well.  She  has 
chosen  those  of  his  works  which  were  most  mellow,  and  at  the  same 
time  gorgeous  in  colouring,  most  luxuriant  in  composition,  most 
unctuous  in  expression.  Rubens  was  the  only  artist  that  could  have 
embodied  some  of  our  countryman  Spenser's  splendid  and  voluptuous 

71 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF   ENGLAND 

allegories.  If  a  painter  among  ourselves  were  to  attempt  a  Spenser 
Gallery,  (perhaps  the  finest  subject  for  the  pencil  in  the  world  after 
Heathen  mythology  and  Scripture  History,)  he  ought  to  go  and 
study  the  principles  of  his  design  at  Blenheim! — The  Silenus  and  the 
Rape  of  Proserpine  contain  more  of  the  Bacchanalian  and  lawless 
spirit  of  ancient  fable  than  perhaps  any  two  pictures  extant.  We 
shall  not  dispute  that  Nicolas  Poussin  could  probably  give  more  of 
the  abstract,  metaphysical  character  of  his  traditional  personages,  or 
that  Titian  could  set  them  off  better,  so  as  to  '  leave  stings '  in  the 
eye  of  the  spectator,  by  a  prodigious  gusto  of  colouring,  as  in  his 
Bacchus  and  Ariadne :  but  neither  of  them  gave  the  same  undulating 
outline,  the  same  humid,  pulpy  tone  to  the  flesh,  the  same  graceful 
involution  to  the  grouping  and  the  forms,  the  same  animal  spirits,  the 
same  breathing  motion.  Let  any  one  look  at  the  figure  of  the  Silenus 
in  the  first-mentioned  of  these  compositions,  its  unwieldly  size,  its 
reeling,  drunken  attitude,  its  capacity  for  revelling  in  gross,  sensual 
enjoyment,  and  contrast  it  with  the  figure  of  the  nymph,  so  light,  so 
wanton,  so  fair,  that  her  clear  crystal  skin  and  laughing  grace  spread 
a  ruddy  glow,  and  account  for  the  giddy  tumult  all  around  her  ;  and 
say  if  any  thing  finer  in  this  kind  was  ever  executed  or  imagined. 
In  that  sort  of  licentious  fancy,  in  which  a  certain  grossness  of 
expression  bordered  on  caricature,  and  where  grotesque  or  enticing 
form  was  to  be  combined  with  free  and  rapid  movements,  or  different 
tones  and  colours  were  to  be  flung  over  the  picture  as  in  sport  or  in 
a  dance,  no  one  ever  surpassed  the  Flemish  painter  ;  and  some  of  the 
greatest  triumphs  of  his  pencil  are  to  be  found  in  the  Blenheim 
Gallery.  There  are  several  others  of  his  best  pictures  on  sacred 
subjects,  such  as  the  Flight  into  Egypt,  and  the  illustration  of  the 
text,  '  Suffer  little  children  to  come  unto  me.'  The  head  and  figure 
and  deportment  of  the  Christ,  in  this  last  admirable  production,  are 
nobly  characteristic  (beyond  what  the  painter  usually  accomplished 
in  this  department)^ — the  face  of  a  woman  holding  a  young  child, 
pale,  pensive,  with  scarce  any  shadow,  and  the  head  of  the  child 
itself  (looking  as  vacant  and  satisfied  as  if  the  nipple  had  just  dropped 
from  its  mouth)  are  actually  alive.  Those  who  can  look  at  this 
picture  with  indifference,  or  without  astonishment  at  the  truth  of 
nature,  and  the  felicity  of  execution,  may  rest  assured  that  they  know 
as  little  of  Rubens  as  of  the  Art  itself.  Vandyke,  the  scholar  and 
rival  of  Rubens,  holds  the  next  place  in  this  Collection.  There  is 
here,  as  in  so  many  other  places,  a  picture  of  the  famous  Lord 
Strafford,  with  his  Secretary — both  speaking  heads,  and  with  the 
characters  finely  diversified.  We  were  struck  also  by  the  delightful 
family  picture  of  the  Duchess  of  Buckingham  and  her  Children,  but 
72 


PICTURES   AT  OXFORD   AND  BLENHEIM 

not  so  much  (we  confess  it)  as  we  expected  from  our  recollection  of 
this  picture  a  few  years  ago.  It  had  less  the  effect  of  a  perfect 
mirror  of  fashion  in  '  the  olden  time,'  than  we  fancied  to  ourselves — 
the  little  girl  had  less  exquisite  primness  and  studied  gentility,  the 
little  boy  had  not  the  same  chubby,  good-humoured  look,  and  the 
colours  in  his  cheek  had  faded — nor  had  the  mother  the  same  graceful, 
matron-like  air.  Is  it  we  or  the  picture  that  has  changed  ?  In 
general  our  expectations  tally  pretty  well  with  our  after-observations, 
but  there  was  a  falling-off  in  the  present  instance.  There  is  a  fine 
whole-length  of  a  lady  of  quality  of  that  day  (we  think  Lady 
Cleveland)  ;  but  the  master-piece  of  Vandyke's  pencil  here  is  his 
Charles  I.  on  Horseback.  It  is  the  famous  cream  or  fawn-coloured 
horse,  which,  of  all  the  creatures  that  ever  were  painted,  is  surely  one 
of  the  most  beautiful. 

'  Sure  never  were  seen 
Two  such  beautiful  ponies; 
All  others  are  brutes. 
But  these  macaronies.' 

Its  steps  are  delicate,  as  if  it  moved  to  some  soft  measure  or  courtly 
strain,  or  disdained  the  very  ground  it  trod  upon  ;  its  form  all  light- 
ness and  elegance :  the  expression  quick  and  fiery ;  the  colour 
inimitable ;  the  texture  of  the  skin  sensitive  and  tremblingly  alive  all 
over,  as  if  it  would  shrink  from  the  smallest  touch.  The  portrait  of 
Charles  is  not  equal ;  but  there  is  a  landscape-background,  which  in 
breezy  freshness  seems  almost  to  rival  the  airy  spirit  and  delicacy  of 
the  noble  animal.  There  are  also  one  or  two  fine  Rembrandts 
(particularly  a  Jacob  and  Esau) — an  early  Raphael,  the  Adoration  of 
some  saint,  hard  and  stiff,  but  carefully  designed  ;  and  a  fine,  sensible, 
gracefiil  head  of  the  Fornarina,  of  which  we  have  a  common  and 
well-executed  engraving. 

'  But  did  you  see  the  Titian  room  ? ' — Yes,  we  did,  and  a  glorious 
treat  it  was ;  nor  do  we  know  why  it  should  not  be  shewn  to  every 
one.  There  is  nothing  alarming  but  the  title  of  the  subjects — The 
Loves  of  the  Gods — just  as  was  the  case  with  Mr.  T.  Moore's  Lo-ves 
of  the  Angels — but  oh!  how  differently  treated!  What  a  gusto  in 
the  first,  compared  with  the  insipidity  of  the  last !  What  streaks  of 
living  blood-colour,  so  unlike  gauze  spangles  or  pink  silk-stockings  ! 
What  union,  what  symmetry  of  form,  instead  of  sprawling,  flimsy 
descriptions — what  an  expression  of  amorous  enjoyment  about  the 
mouth,  the  eyes,  and  even  to  the  finger-ends,  instead  of  cold  conceits, 
and  moonlight  similes  !  This  is  en  passant ;  so  to  our  task. — It  is 
said  these  pictures  were  discovered  in   an  old  lumber-room  by   Sir 

73 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

Joshua  Reynolds,  who  set  a  high  value  on  them,  and  that  they  are 
undoubtedly  by  Titian,  having  been  originally  sent  over  as  a  present 
by  the  King  of  Sardinia  (for  whose  ancestor  they  were  painted)  to 
the  first  Duke  of  Marlborough.  We  should  (without,  however, 
pretending  to  set  up  an  opinion)  incline,  from  the  internal  evidence, 
to  think  them  from  the  pencil  of  the  great  Venetian,  but  for  two 
circumstances :  the  first  is  the  texture  of  the  skin ;  and  secondly, 
they  do  not  compose  well  as  pictures.  They  have  no  back-ground 
to  set  them  off,  but  a  most  ridiculous  trellis-work,  representing  nothing, 
hung  round  them  ;  and  the  flesh  looks  monotonous  and  hard,  like  the 
rind  of  fruit.  On  the  other  hand,  this  last  objection  seems  to  be 
answered  satisfactorily  enough,  and  without  impugning  the  skill  of 
the  artist ;  for  the  pictures  are  actually  painted  on  skins  of  leather. 
In  all  other  respects,  they  might  assuredly  be  by  Titian,  and  we 
know  of  no  other  painter  who  was  capable  of  achieving  their  various 
excellences.  The  drawing  of  the  female  figures  is  correct  and 
elegant  in  a  high  degree,  and  might  be  supposed  to  be  borrowed  from 
classic  sculpture,  but  that  it  is  more  soft,  more  feminine,  more  lovely. 
The  colouring,  with  the  exception  already  stated,  is  true,  spirited, 
golden,  harmonious.  The  grouping  and  attitudes  are  heroic,  the 
expression  in  some  of  the  faces  divine.  We  do  not  mean,  of  course, 
that  it  possesses  the  elevation  or  purity  that  Raphael  or  Correggio 
could  give,  but  it  is  warmer,  more  thrilling  and  ecstatic.  There  is 
the  glow  and  ripeness  of  a  more  genial  clime,  the  purple  light  of  love, 
crimsoned  blushes,  looks  bathed  in  rapture,  kisses  with  immortal 
sweetness  in  their  taste — Nay,  then,  let  the  reader  go  and  see  the 
pictures,  and  no  longer  lay  the  blame  of  this  extravagance  on  us. 
We  may  at  any  rate  repeat  the  subjects.  They  are  eight  in  number. 
I.  Mars  and  Venus.  The  Venus  is  well  worthy  to  be  called  the 
Queen  of  Love,  for  shape,  for  air,  for  every  thing.  Her  redoubted 
lover  is  a  middle-aged,  ill-looking  gentleman,  clad  in  a  buff-jerkin,  and 
somewhat  of  a  formalist  in  his  approaches  and  mode  of  address ;  but 
there  is  a  Cupid  playing  on  the  floor,  who  might  well  turn  the  world 
upside  down.  2.  Cupid  and  Psyche.  The  Cupid  is  perhaps  rather  a 
gawky,  awkward  stripling,  with  eager,  open-mouthed  wonder :  but 
did  ever  creature  of  mortal  mould  see  any  thing  comparable  to  the 
back  and  limbs  of  the  Psyche,  or  conceive  or  read  any  thing  equal  to 
it,  but  that  unique  description  in  the  Troilus  and  Cressida  of  Chaucer? 
3.  Apollo  and  Daphne.  Not  equal  to  the  rest.  4.  Hercules  and 
Dejanira.  The  female  figure  in  this  picture  is  full  of  grace  and 
animation,  and  the  arms  that  are  twined  round  the  great  son  of  Jove 
are  elastic  as  a  bended  bow.  5.  Vulcan  and  Ceres.  6.  Pluto  and 
Proserpine.  7.  Jupiter  and  lo.  Very  fine.  And  finest  of  all,  and 
74 


CRITICISM   ON   MARRIAGE    ALA-MODE 

last,  Neptune  and  Amphitrite.  In  this  last  work  it  seems  'as  if 
increase  of  appetite  did  grow  with  what  it  fed  on.'  What  a  face  is 
that  of  Amphitrite  for  beauty  and  for  sweetness  of  expression  !  One 
thing  is  remarkable  in  these  groups  (with  the  exception  of  two) 
which  is  that  the  lovers  are  all  of  them  old  men  ;  but  then  they 
retain  their  beards  (according  to  the  custom  of  the  good  old  times !) 
and  this  makes  not  only  a  picturesque  contrast,  but  gives  a  beautiful 
softness  and  youthful  delicacy  to  the  female  faces  opposed  to  them. 
Upon  the  whole,  this  series  of  historic  compositions  well  deserves  the 
attention  of  the  artist  and  the  connoisseur,  and  perhaps  some  light 
might  be  thrown  upon  the  subject  of  their  authenticity  by  turning 
over  some  old  portfolios.  We  have  heard  a  hint  thrown  out  that 
the  designs  are  of  a  date  prior  to  Titian.  But  '  we  are  ignorance 
itself  in  this !  ' 


APPENDIX 

CRITICISM 
ON  HOGARTH'S  MARRIAGE  A-LA-MODE 

The  Criticism  on  Hogarth's  ^Marriage  a-la-Mode,'   referred  to  in   the 
account  of  Mr.  Angerstein' s pictures  {^page  15),  is  as  folloivs  : — 

The  superiority  of  the  pictures  of  Hogarth,  which  we  have  seen 
in  the  late  collection  at  the  British  Institution,  to  the  common  prints, 
is  confined  chiefly  to  the  Marriage  a-la-Mode.  We  shall  attempt  to 
illustrate  a  few  of  their  most  striking  excellences,  more  particularly 
with  reference  to  the  expression  of  character.  Their  merits  are 
indeed  so  prominent,  and  have  been  so  often  discussed,  that  it  may 
be  thought  difficult  to  point  out  any  new  beauties ;  but  they  contain 
so  much  truth  of  nature,  they  present  the  objects  to  the  eye  under 
so  many  aspects  and  bearings,  admit  of  so  many  constructions,  and 
are  so  pregnant  with  meaning,  that  the  subject  is  in  a  manner 
inexhaustible. 

Boccaccio,  the  most  refined  and  sentimental  of  all  the  novel-writers, 
has  been  stigmatized  as  a  mere  inventor  of  licentious  tales,  because 
readers  in  general  have  only  seized  on  those  things  in  his  works  which 
were  suited  to  their  own  taste,  and  have  reflected  their  own  grossness 
back  upon  the  writer.  So  it  has  happened  that  the  majority  of  critics 
having  been  most  struck  with  the  strong  and  decided  expression  in 
Hogarth,  the  extreme  delicacy  and  subtle  gradations  of  character 
in   his   pictures   have   almost   entirely   escaped    them.      In   the   first 

75 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

picture  of  the  Marriage  a-la^Mode,  the  three  figures  of  the  young 
Nobleman,  his  intended  Bride,  and  her  innamorato  the  Lawyer, 
shew  how  much  Hogarth  excelled  in  the  power  of  giving  soft  and 
effeminate  expression.  They  have,  however,  been  less  noticed  than 
the  other  figures,  which  tell  a  plainer  story,  and  convey  a  more 
palpable  moral.  Nothing  can  be  more  finely  managed  than  the 
differences  of  character  in  these  delicate  personages.  The  Beau  sits 
smiling  at  the  looking-glass,  with  a  reflected  simper  of  self-admiration, 
and  a  languishing  inclination  of  the  head,  while  the  rest  of  his  body 
is  perked  up  on  his  high  heels,  with  a  certain  air  of  tip-toe  elevation. 
He  is  the  Narcissus  of  the  reign  of  George  ii.,  whose  powdered 
peruke,  ruffles,  gold  lace,  and  patches,  divide  his  self-love  equally 
with  his  own  person,  the  true  Sir  Plume  of  his  day, — 

'  Of  amber  snufF-box  justly  vain, 

And  the  nice  conduct  of  a  clouded  cane.' 

There  is  the  same  felicity  in  the  figure  and  attitude  of  the  Bride, 
courted  by  the  Lawyer.  There  is  the  utmost  flexibility,  and 
yielding  softness  in  her  whole  person,  a  listless  languor  and  tremulous 
suspense  in  the  expression  of  her  face.  It  is  the  precise  look  and 
air  which  Pope  has  given  to  his  favourite  Belinda,  just  at  the  moment 
of  the  Rape  of  the  Lock.  The  heightened  glow,  the  forward  intel- 
ligence, and  loosened  soul  of  love  in  the  same  face,  in  the  Assigna- 
tion-scene before  the  masquerade,  form  a  fine  and  instructive  contrast 
to  the  delicacy,  timidity,  and  coy  reluctance  expressed  in  the  first. 
The  Lawyer,  in  both  pictures,  is  much  the  same — perhaps  too  much 
so — though  even  this  unmoved,  unaltered  appearance  may  be  designed 
as  characteristic.  In  both  cases,  he  has  'a  person  and  a  smooth 
dispose,  framed  to  make  women  false.'  He  is  full  of  that  easy 
good-humour,  and  easy  good  opinion  of  himself,  with  which  the  sex 
are  delighted.  There  is  not  a  sharp  angle  in  his  face  to  obstruct  his 
success,  or  give  a  hint  of  doubt  or  difficulty.  His  whole  aspect  is 
round  and  rosy,  lively  and  unmeaning,  happy  without  the  least  expense 
of  thought,  careless,  and  inviting ;  and  conveys  a  perfect  idea  of  the 
uninterrupted  glide  and  pleasing  murmur  of  the  soft  periods  that  flow 
from  his  tongue. 

The  expression  of  the  Bride  in  the  Morning-scene  is  the  most 
highly  seasoned,  and  at  the  same  time  the  most  vulgar  in  the  series. 
The  figure,  face,  and  attitude  of  the  Husband  are  inimitable.  Hogarth 
has  with  great  skill  contrasted  the  pale  countenance  of  the  Husband 
with  the  yellow  whitish  colour  of  the  marble  chimney-piece  behind 
him,  in  such  a  manner  as  to  preserve  the  fleshy  tone  of  the  former. 
The  airy  splendour  of  the  view  of  the  inner  room  in  this  picture, 

76 


CRITICISM   ON   MARRIAGE   A-LA-MODE 

is  probably  not  exceeded  by  any  of  the  productions  of  the  Flemish 
school. 

The  Young  Girl,  in  the  third  picture,  who  is  represented  as  a 
victim  of  fashionable  profligacy,  is  unquestionably  one  of  the  artist's 
chef-d'ceunires.  The  exquisite  delicacy  of  the  painting  is  only  sur- 
passed by  the  felicity  and  subtlety  of  the  conception.  Nothing  can 
be  more  striking  than  the  contrast  between  the  extreme  softness  of 
her  person  and  the  hardened  indifference  of  her  character.  The 
vacant  stillness,  the  docility  to  vice,  the  premature  suppression  of 
youthful  sensibility,  the  doll-like  mechanism  of  the  whole  figure, 
which  seems  to  have  no  other  feeling  but  a  sickly  sense  of  pain, 
— shew  the  deepest  insight  into  human  nature,  and  into  the  effects 
of  those  refinements  in  depravity,  by  which  it  has  been  good- 
naturedly  asserted,  that  '  vice  loses  half  its  evil  in  losing  all  its 
grossness.'  The  story  of  this  picture  is  in  some  parts  very  obscure 
and  enigmatical.  It  is  certain  that  the  Nobleman  is  not  looking 
straight  forward  to  the  Quack,  whom  he  seems  to  have  been  threaten- 
ing with  his  cane ;  but  that  his  eyes  are  turned  up  with  an  ironical 
leer  of  triumph  to  the  Procuress.  The  commanding  attitude  and 
size  of  this  woman, — the  swelling  circumference  of  her  dress,  spread 
out  like  a  turkey-cock's  feathers, — the  fierce,  ungovernable,  inveterate 
malignity  of  her  countenance,  which  hardly  needs  the  comment  of 
the  clasp-knife  to  explain  her  purpose,  are  all  admirable  in  themselves, 
and  still  more  so,  as  they  are  opposed  to  the  mute  insensibility,  the 
elegant  negligence  of  dress,  and  the  childish  figure  of  the  girl,  who 
is  supposed  to  be  her  protegee.  As  for  the  Quack,  there  can  be  no 
doubt  entertained  about  him.  His  face  seems  as  if  it  were  composed 
of  salve,  and  his  features  exhibit  all  the  chaos  and  confusion  of  the 
most  gross,  ignorant,  and  impudent  empiricism. 

The  gradations  of  ridiculous  affectation  in  the  Music-scene,  are 
finely  imagined  and  preserved.  The  preposterous,  overstrained 
admiration  of  the  Lady  of  Quality;  the  sentimental,  insipid,  patient, 
dehght  of  the  Man  with  his  hair  in  papers,  and  sipping  his  tea ; 
the  pert,  smirking,  conceited,  half-distorted  approbation  of  the  figure 
next  to  him;  the  transition  to  the  total  insensibility  of  the  round 
face  in  profile,  and  then  to  the  wonder  of  the  Negro-boy  at  the 
rapture  of  his  mistress, — form  a  perfect  whole.  The  sanguine 
complexion  and  flame-coloured  hair  of  the  female  Virtuoso  throw 
an  additional  light  on  the  character.  This  is  lost  in  the  print. 
The  continuing  the  red  colour  of  the  hair  into  the  back  of  the 
chair,  has  been  pointed  out  as  one  of  those  instances  of  alliteration 
in  colouring,  of  which  these  pictures  are  everywhere  full.  The 
gross,  bloated  appearance  of  the  Italian  Singer  is  well  relieved  by 

77 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

the  hard  features  of  the  instrumental  Performer  behind  him,  which 
might  be  carved  of  wood.  The  Negro-boy,  holding  the  chocolate, 
in  expression,  colour,  and  execution,  is  a  master-piece.  The  gay, 
lively  derision  of  the  other  Negro-boy,  playing  with  the  Actason,  is 
an  ingenious  contrast  to  the  profound  amazement  of  the  first.  Some 
account  has  already  been  given  of  the  two  lovers  in  this  picture. 
It  is  curious  to  observe  the  infinite  activity  of  mind  which  the  artist 
displays  on  every  occasion.  An  instance  occurs  in  the  present  picture. 
He  has  so  contrived  the  papers  in  the  hair  of  the  Bride,  as  to  make 
them  look  almost  like  a  wreathe  of  half-blown  flowers ;  while  those 
which  he  has  placed  on  the  head  of  the  musical  Amateur  very  much 
resemble  a  chcueux-de-fris  of  horns,  which  adorn  and  fortify  the  lack- 
lustre expression  and  mild  resignation  of  the  face  beneath. 

The  Night-scene  is  inferior  to  the  rest  of  the  series.  The  attitude 
of  the  Husband,  who  is  just  killed,  is  one  in  which  it  would  be 
impossible  for  him  to  stand,  or  even  to  fall.  It  resembles  the  loose 
pasteboard  figures  they  make  for  children.  The  characters  in  the 
last  picture,  in  which  the  Wife  dies,  are  all  masterly.  We  would 
particularly  refer  to  the  captious,  petulant  self-sufficiency  of  the 
Apothecary,  whose  face  and  figure  are  constructed  on  exact  physio- 
gnomical principles,  and  to  the  fine  example  of  passive  obedience  and 
non-resistance  in  the  Servant,  whom  he  is  taking  to  task,  and  whose 
coat  of  green  and  yellow  livery  is  as  long  and  melancholy  as  his  face. 
The  disconsolate  look,  the  haggard  eyes,  the  open  mouth,  the  comb 
sticking  in  the  hair,  the  broken,  gapped  teeth,  which,  as  it  were, 
hitch  in  an  answer — every  thing  about  him  denotes  the  utmost 
perplexity  and  dismay.  The  harmony  and  gradations  of  colour  in 
this  picture  are  uniformly  preserved  with  the  greatest  nicety,  and 
are  well  worthy  the  attention  of  the  artist. 

It  has  been  observed,  that  Hogarth's  pictures  are  exceedingly 
unlike  any  other  representations  of  the  same  kind  of  subjects — that 
they  form  a  class,  and  have  a  character,  peculiar  to  themselves. 
It  may  be  worth  while  to  consider  in  what  this  general  distinction 
consists. 

In  the  first  place  they  are,  in  the  strictest  sense,  historical  pictures; 
and  if  what  Fielding  says  be  true,  that  his  novel  of  Tom  Jones  ought 
to  be  regarded  as  an  epic  prose-poem,  because  it  contained  a  regular 
developement  of  fable,  manners,  character,  and  passion,  the  composi- 
tions of  Hogarth  will,  in  like  manner  be  found  to  have  a  higher  claim 
to  the  title  of  Epic  Pictures,  than  many  which  have  of  late  arrogated 
that  denomination  to  themselves.  When  we  say  that  Hogarth  treated 
his  subjects  historically,  we  mean  that  his  works  represent  the  manners 
and  humours  of  mankind  in  action,  and  their  characters  by  varying 


CRITICISM   ON  MARRIAGE   A-LA-MODE 

expression.  Every  thing  in  his  pictures  has  life  and  motion  in  it. 
Not  only  does  the  business  of  the  scene  never  stand  still,  but  every 
feature  and  muscle  is  put  into  full  play ;  the  exact  feeling  of  the 
moment  is  brought  out,  and  carried  to  its  utmost  height,  and  then 
instantly  seized  and  stamped  on  the  canvas  forever.  The  expression 
is  always  taken  en  passant,  in  a  state  of  progress  or  change,  and,  as  it 
were,  at  the  salient  point.  Besides  the  excellence  of  each  individual 
face,  the  reflection  of  the  expression  from  face  to  face,  the  contrast 
and  struggle  of  particular  motives  and  feelings  in  the  different  actors 
in  the  scene,  as  of  anger,  contempt,  laughter,  compassion,  are  conveyed 
in  the  happiest  and  most  lively  manner.  His  figures  are  not  like  the 
background  on  which  they  are  painted  :  even  the  pictures  on  the  wall 
have  a  peculiar  look  of  their  own. — Again,  with  the  rapidity,  variety, 
and  scope  of  history,  Hogarth's  heads  have  all  the  reality  and  correct- 
ness of  portraits.  He  gives  the  extremes  of  character  and  expression, 
but  he  gives  them  with  perfect  truth  and  accuracy.  This  is  in  fact 
what  distinguishes  his  compositions  from  all  others  of  the  same  kind, 
that  they  are  equally  remote  from  caricature  and  from  mere  still-life. 
It  of  course  happens  in  subjects  from  common  life,  that  the  painter 
can  procure  real  models,  and  he  can  get  them  to  sit  as  long  as  he 
pleases.  Hence,  in  general,  those  attitudes  and  expressions  have  been 
chosen  which  could  be  assumed  the  longest ;  and  in  imitating  which, 
the  artist,  by  taking  pains  and  time,  might  produce  almost  as  complete 
a  fac-simile  as  he  could  of  a  flower  or  a  flower-pot,  of  a  damask 
curtain,  or  a  china  vase.  The  copy  was  as  perfect  and  as  uninterest- 
ing in  the  one  case  as  in  the  other.  On  the  contrary,  subjects  of 
drollery  and  ridicule  affording  frequent  examples  of  strange  deformity 
and  peculiarity  of  features,  these  have  been  eagerly  seized  by  another 
class  of  artists,  who,  without  subjecting  themselves  to  the  laborious 
drudgery  of  the  Dutch  school  and  their  imitators,  have  produced  our 
popular  caricatures,  by  rudely  copying  or  exaggerating  the  casual 
irregularities  of  the  human  countenance.  Hogarth  has  equally  avoided 
the  faults  of  both  these  styles — the  insipid  tameness  of  the  one,  and 
the  gross  vulgarity  of  the  other — so  as  to  give  to  the  productions  of 
his  pencil  equal  solidity  and  effect :  for  his  faces  go  to  the  very  verge 
of  caricature,  and  yet  never  (we  believe  in  any  single  instance)  go 
beyond  it ;  they  take  the  very  widest  latitude,  and  yet  we  always 
see  the  links  which  bind  them  to  nature :  they  bear  all  the  marks, 
and  carry  all  the  conviction  of  reality  with  them,  as  if  we  had  seen 
the  actual  faces  for  the  first  time,  from  the  precision,  consistency, 
and  good  sense,  with  which  the  whole  and  every  part  is  made  out. 
They  exhibit  the  most  uncommon  features  with  the  most  uncommon 
expressions,  but  which  are  yet  as  familiar  and  intelligible  as  possible ; 

79 


THE   PICTURE   GALLERIES   OF  ENGLAND 

because,  with  all  the  boldness,  they  have  all  the  truth  of  nature. 
Hogarth  has  left  behind  him  as  many  of  these  memorable  faces,  in 
their  memorable  moments,  as,  perhaps,  most  of  us  remember  in  the 
course  of  our  lives ;  and  has  thus  doubled  the  quantity  of  our 
observation. 

We  have,  in  the  present  paper,  attempted  to  point  out  the  fund  of 
observation,  physical  and  moral,  contained  in  one  set  of  these  pictures, 
the  Marriage  a-la-mode.  The  rest  would  furnish  as  many  topics  to 
descant  upon,  were  the  patience  of  the  reader  as  inexhaustible  as  the 
painter's  invention.  But  as  this  is  not  the  case,  we  shall  content 
ourselves  with  barely  referring  to  some  of  those  figures  in  the  other 
pictures,  which  appear  the  most  striking ;  and  which  we  see,  not 
only  while  we  are  looking  at  them,  but  which  we  have  before  us 
at  all  other  times. — For  instance :  who,  having  seen,  can  easily 
forget  that  exquisite  frost-piece  of  religion  and  morality,  the  anti- 
quated prude,  in  the  picture  of  Morning  \  or  that  striking  commentary 
on  the  good  old  times,  the  little  wretched  appendage  of  a  foot-boy, 
who  crawls,  half  famished  and  half  frozen,  behind  her  ?  The 
French  man  and  woman,  in  the  Noon,  are  the  perfection  of  flighty 
affectation  and  studied  grimace  ;  the  amiable  fraternization  of  the 
two  old  women  saluting  each  other,  is  not  enough  to  be  admired ; 
and  in  the  little  master,  in  the  same  national  group,  we  see  the  early 
promise  and  personification  of  that  eternal  principle  of  wondrous  self- 
complacency,  proof  against  all  circumstances,  which  makes  the 
French  the  only  people  who  are  vain,  even  of  being  cuckolded  and 
being  conquered !  Or  shall  we  prefer  to  this,  the  outrageous  distress 
and  unmitigated  terrors  of  the  boy  who  has  dropped  his  dish  of  meat, 
and  who  seems  red  all  over  with  shame  and  vexation,  and  bursting 
with  the  noise  he  makes  ?  Or  what  can  be  better  than  the  good 
housewifery  of  the  girl  underneath,  who  is  devouring  the  lucky 
fragments  ?  Or  than  the  plump,  ripe,  florid,  luscious  look  of  the 
servant-wench,  embraced  by  a  greasy  rascal  of  an  Othello,  with  her 
pye-dish  tottering  like  her  virtue,  and  with  the  most  precious  part  of 
its  contents  running  over  ?  Just — no,  not  quite — as  good,  is  the  joke 
of  the  woman  over  head,  who,  having  quarrelled  with  her  husband, 
is  throwing  their  Sunday's  dinner  out  of  the  window,  to  complete 
this  chapter  of  accidents  of  baked  dishes.  The  husband,  in  the 
Emening  scene,  is  certainly  as  meek  as  any  recorded  in  history ;  but 
we  cannot  say  that  we  admire  this  picture,  or  the  Night  scene  after 
it.  But  then  in  the  Taste  in  High  Life,  there  is  that  inimitable 
pair,  differing  only  in  sex,  congratulating  and  delighting  one  another 
by  '  all  the  mutually  reflected  charities '  of  folly  and  affectation  ;  with 
the  young  lady,  coloured  like  a  rose,  dandling  her  little,  black,  pug- 

80 


CRITICISM   ON  MARRIAGE   A-LA-MODE 

faced,  white-teethed,  chuckling  favourite;  and  with  the  portrait  of 
Mens.  Des  Noyers,  in  the  background,  dancing  in  a  grand  ballet, 
surrounded  by  butterflies.  And  again,  in  The  Election  Dinner,  is 
the  immortal  cobbler,  surrounded  by  his  peers,  who  '  frequent  and 
full,'— 

'  In  loud  recess  and  brawling  conclave  sit :  '— 

the  Jew,  in  the  second  picture,  a  very  Jew  in  grain — innumerable  fine 
sketches  of  heads  in  the  Polling  for  Votes,  of  which  the  nobleman, 
overlooking  the  caricaturist,  is  the  best ; — and  then  the  irresistible, 
tumultuous  display  of  broad  humour  in  the  Chairing  the  Member, 
which  is,  perhaps,  of  all  Hogarth's  pictures,  the  most  full  of  laughable 
incidents  and  situations.  The  yellow,  rusty-faced  thresher,  with  his 
swinging  flail,  breaking  the  head  of  one  of  the  chairmen ;  and  his 
redoubted  antagonist,  the  sailor,  with  his  oak  stick,  and  stumping 
wooden  leg,  a  supplemental  cudgel — the  persevering  ecstasy  of  the 
hobbling  blind  fiddler,  who,  in  the  fray,  appears  to  have  been  trod 
upon  by  the  artificial  excrescence  of  the  honest  tar — Monsieur,  the 
Monkey,  with  piteous  aspect,  speculating  the  impending  disaster  of 
the  triumphant  candidate ;  and  his  brother  Bruin,  appropriating  the 
paunch — the  precipitous  flight  of  the  pigs,  souse  over  head  into  the 
water — the  fine  lady  fainting,  with  vermilion  lips — and  the  two 
chimney  sweepers,  satirical  young  rogues !  We  had  almost  forgot 
the  politician,  who  is  burning  a  hole  through  his  hat  with  a  candle, 
in  reading  a  newspaper ;  and  the  chickens,  in  The  March  to  Finchley, 
wandering  in  search  of  their  lost  dam,  who  is  found  in  the  pocket 
of  the  Serjeant.  Of  the  pictures  in  The  Rake's  Progress  we  shall 
not  here  say  any  thing,  because  we  think  them,  on  the  whole,  inferior 
to  the  prints ;  and  because  they  have  already  been  criticised  by  a 
writer,  to  whom  we  could  add  nothing,  in  a  paper  which  ought  to  be 
read  by  every  lover  of  Hogarth  and  of  English  genius.^ 

^  See  an  Essay  on  the  Genius  of  Hogarth,  by  C.  Lamb. 


VOL. IX.  :  F 


8l 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 
THROUGH   FRANCE   AND   ITALY 


BIBLIOGRAPHICAL    NOTE 

Notes  of  a  Journey  through  France  and  Italy^  By  W.  Ha^litt^  was  published  in 
1826,  in  an  8vo.  volume  (9  x  5 J  inches).  Printed  for  Hunt  and  Clarke,  Tavistock- 
Street,  Co  vent-Garden.  The  printer's  name  is  given  behind  the  title-page  as 
'  William  Clowes,  Northumberland -court,'  and  the  following  lines  from  Cymbeline 
(Act  III,  4.)  appear  underneath  the  author's  name  on  the  title-page  : — 

'  I'  the  world's  volume 
Our  Britain  seems  as  of  it,  but  not  in  it  5 
In  a  great  pool,  a  swan's  nest.     Prithee  think 
There's  livers  out  of  Britain.' 

As  stated  in  the  Advertisement,  the  Notes  were  reprinted  from  the  Morning 
C^roH/V/f,  to  which  they  had  been  contributed  in  1824  and  1825.  They  are  now 
reprinted  for  the  first  time  since  the  publication  of  the  volume  of  1826,  and  as 
they  appeared  in  that  volume.  A  few  passages  which  appeared  in  the  papers  as 
they  came  out  in  the  Morning  Chronicle,  and  were  omitted  when  Hazlitt  collected 
the  letters  in  book-form,  will  be  found  among  the  notes  at  the  end  of  the  volume. 


ADVERTISEMENT 

The  following  Notes  of  a  Journey  through  France  and  Italy  are 
reprinted  from  the  columns  of  the  Morning  Chronicle.  The  favourable 
reception  they  met  with  there  suggested  the  idea  of  the  present  work. 
My  object  has  been  to  describe  what  I  saw  or  remarked  myself;  or 
to  give  the  reader  some  notion  of  what  he  might  expect  to  find  in 
travelling  the  same  road.  There  is  little  of  history  or  antiquities  or 
statistics  ;  nor  do  I  regret  the  want  of  them,  as  it  may  be  abundantly 
supplied  from  other  sources.  The  only  thing  I  could  have  wished 
to  expatiate  upon  more  at  large  is  the  manners  of  the  country :  but 
to  do  justice  to  this,  a  greater  length  of  time  and  a  more  intimate 
acquaintance  with  society  and  the  language  would  be  necessary. 
Perhaps,  at  some  fiiture  opportunity,  this  defect  may  be  remedied. 


8S 


CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Chapter  I. — Rules  for  travelling  abroad.    Brighton.    Crossing  the 

Channel.   Dieppe.    Remarks  on  the  French  common  People         89 

Chapter  II. — Normandy.     Appearance  of  the  Country.     Rouen. 

The  Cathedral  there.     The  sense  of  Smell  .  .  .94. 

Chapter  III. — The  Road  from  Rouen  to  Paris.  A  Mistake. 
Evreux.  A  young  Frenchman.  A  trait  of  national 
Politeness.  Louviers.  The  Diligence,  and  the  Company 
in  it.     Lord  Byron  and  Mr.  Moore  .  .  .100 

Chapter  IV. — The  Louvre  .  .  .  .  .106 

Chapter  V. — Gravity  of  the  French.     Their  Behaviour  at  the 

Theatre.     Account  of  going  to  a  Play.  Minute  attention 

paid  to  the  Arts  and  Sciences  in  France.  Sir  T.  Lawrence. 

Horace  Vernet  .  .  .  .  .  .113 

Chapter VI. — Dialogue  on  theExhibitionof  ModemFrenchPictures     122 

Chapter  VII. — The  Luxembourg  Gallery  .  .  .       129 

Chapter  VIII. — National  Antipathies.    Cemetery  of  Pere  la  C/mise       138 

Chapter  IX. — Mademoiselle  Mars.  The  Theatre  Franfais. 
Moiiere's  Misanthrope  and  Tartuffe.  Admirable  manner  of 
casting  a  Play  in  Paris.  French  Actors,  Le  Peintre,  Odry, 
and  Potier.     Talma  and  Mademoiselle  Georges       .  .       147 

Chapter  X. — Description  of  Paris.  The  Garden  of  the  Tui- 
leries.  The  Champ  de  Mars.  The  Jardin  des  Plantes. 
Reflections   .  .  .  .  .  •       i5S 

Chapter  XI. — French  Sculpture.     Note  on  the  Elgin  Marbles     .       1 62 

Chapter  XII. — The  French  Opera.  Dido  and  .^neas.  Madame 
Le  Gallois  in  the  Ballet.  Italian  Opera  or  Salle  Lowvois. 
Mombelli  and  Pellegrini  in  the  Gazza  Ladra.  Allusion  to 
Brunei  .  .  .  .  .  .  .169 

Chapter  XIII. — Leave  Paris  for  Lyons.  Adventures  on  the 
Road.  Fontainbleau.  Montargis.  Girl  at  the  Inn  there. 
A  French  Diligence.  Moulins.  Palisseau.  The  Bour- 
bonnois.  Descent  into  Tarare.  Meeting  with  a  young 
Englishman  there.  Arrival  at  Lyons.  Manners  of  French 
Servants.  French  Translation  of  Tom  Jones.  M.  Martine's 
Death  of  Socrates      .  .  .  .  .  -175 

Chapter  XIV. — Set  out  for  Turin  by  Way  of  Mont  Cenis.  The 
Cheats  of  Scapin.  The  Diligence.  Pont  Beau  Voisin,  the 
frontier  Town  of  the  King  of  Sardinia's  Dominions.  Have 
to  pass  the  Custom  House.  My  Box  of  Books  leaded.  A 
Note  which  is  little  to  the  Purpose.  First  View  of  the 
Alps.      The   Grand    Chartreuse.      Cavern   of  La   Grotte. 

87 


CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Chamber/.  St.  Michelle.  Lans-le-Bourg.  Our  Spanish 
fellow-traveller.    Passage  of  Mount  Cenis.    Arrival  at  Susa  .       183 

Chapter  XV. — Turin.  Its  magnificent  Situation.  The  Effect 
of  first  feeling  one's-self  in  Italy.  Theatre.  Capital 
Pantomime-acting.  Passports.  Get  seats  in  a  Voiture  to 
Florence,  with  two  English  Ladies.  Mode  of  travelling. 
Italian  Peasants.  Parma.  Windows  lined  with  Faces. 
Maria-Louisa.  Character  of  Correggio.  Frescoes  by  the 
same  in  the  Cupola  of  St.  Paul's.  The  Famese  Theatre. 
Bologna.     Academy  of  Painting.     Towns  in  Italy  .       19S 

Chapter  XVI.— Road  to  Florence.  The  Apennines.  Covigliaijo. 
La  Maschere.  Approach  to  and  Description  of  Florence. 
Carnival.  Lent.  The  Popish  Calendar.  Fesole.  Cold  in 
Italy  .....••       207 

Chapter  XVII.— The  public  Gallery.  Antique  Busts.  The  Venus. 
Raphael's  Fomarina.  The  Perseus  of  Benvenuto  Cellini. 
John  of  Bologna's  Rape  of  the  Sabines.     The  Palace  Pitti    .       219 

Chapter  XVIII.— Sienna.  Radicofani.  Aquapendente.  Descrip- 
tion of  the  Inn  there.  San  Lorenzo.  Monte-Fiascone. 
Lake  of  Bolsena.  Desolate  Appearance  of  the  Country 
near  Rome.     First  View  of  St.  Peter's  from  Baccano  .       227 

Chapter  XIX.— Rome.  The  Vatican.  The  Capella  Sistina. 
Holy  V7eek.  The  Coliseum.  The  Temple  of  Vesta. 
Picture  Galleries — the  Ruspigliosi,  Doria,  Borghese,  Corsini, 
and  Little  Farnese.     Guido  .  •  .232 

Chapter  XX. — Character  of  the  English  .  .  241 

Chapter  XXI. — Return  to  Florence.  Italian  Banditti.  Temi. 
Tivoli.  Spoleto.  Church  and  Pictures  at  Assizi.  Perugia. 
An  Irish  Priest.     Cortona.     Arrezo.     Incisa  .  .253 

Chapter  XXII. — Journey  to  Venice.     Plain  of  Lombardy.     A 

country  Inn.  Ferrara.  Rovigo.  Padua.  Description  of  Venice  .       263 

Chapter  XXIII. — Palaces  at  Venice — the  Grimani,  Barberigo, 
and  Manfrini  Collections.  Paul  Veronese.  Titian's  St. 
Peter  Martyr.  The  Assumption  and  Martyrdom  of  St. 
Lawrence.     St.  Mark's  Place  .  .  .  268 

Chapter  XXIV. — Journeyto  Milan.  Verona.  TheTomb  of  Juliet. 
The  Amphitheatre.  The  Fortress  of  Peschiera.  Lake  of 
Garda.  Milan.  The  Inhabitants.  The  Duomo.  Theatre  of 
the  Gran  Scala.    Isola  Bella.    Lago  Maggiore.    Baveno         .       275 

Chapter  XXV. — The  passage  over  the  Simplon.     Inn  at  Brigg. 

Valley  of  the  Simplon.     Sion.     Bex.     Vevey  .  .281 

Chapter    XXVI. — Excursion     to     Chamouni.       Mont  -  Blanc. 

Geneva.     Lausanne  .  .  .  .  .288 

Chapter  XXVII. — Return   down   the  Rhine  through  Holland. 

Concluding  remarks  .  .  .       295 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 
THROUGH   FRANCE   AND   ITALY 

CHAPTER  I 

/The  rule  for  travelling  abroad  is  to  take  our  common  sense  with  us, 
and  leave  our  prejudices  behind  us  J  The  object  of  travelling  is  to  see 
and  learn ;  but  such  is  our  impatience  of  ignorance,  or  the  jealousy  of 
our  self-love,  that  we  generally  set  up  a  certain  preconception  before- 
hand (in  self-defence,  or  as  a  barrier  against  the  lessons  of  experience,) 
and  are  surprised  at  or  quarrel  with  all  that  does  not  conform  to  it. 
Let  us  think  what  we  please  of  what  we  really  find,  but  prejudge 
nothing.  The  English,  in  particular,  carry  out  their  own  defects  as 
a  standard  for  general  imitation;  and  think  the  virtues  of  others  (that 
are  not  their  vices)  good  for  nothing.  Thus  they  find  fault  with  the 
gaiety  of  the  French  as  impertinence,  with  their  politeness  as  grimace. 
This  repulsive  system  of  carping  and  contradiction  can  extract  neither 
use  nor  meaning  from  any  thing,  and  only  tends  to  make  those  who 
give  way  to  it  uncomfortable  and  ridiculous.  On  the  contrary,  we 
should  be  as  seldom  shocked  or  annoyed  as  possible,  (it  is  our  vanity 
or  ignorance  that  is  mortified  much  oftener  than  our  reason  ! )  and 
contrive  to  see  the  favourable  side  of  things.  This  will  turn  both  to 
profit  and  pleasure.  The  intellectual,  like  the  physical,  is  best  kept 
up  by  an  exchange  of  commodities,  instead  of  an  ill-natured  and  idle 
search  after  grievances.  The  first  thing  an  Englishman  does  on  going 
abroad  is  to  find  fault  with  what  is  French,  because  it  is  not  English. 
If  he  is  determined  to  confine  all  excellence  to  his  own  country,  he 
had  better  stay  at  home. 

On  arriving  at  Brighton  (in  the  full  season,)  a  lad  offered  to 
conduct  us  to  an  inn.  '  Did  he  think  there  was  room  ? '  He  was 
sure  of  it.  'Did  he  belong  to  the  inn  ? '  No,  he  was  from  London. 
In  fact,  he  was  a  young  gentleman  from  town,  who  had  been  stopping 
some  time  at  the  White-Horse  Hotel,  and  who  wished  to  employ  his 
spare  time  (when  he  was  not  riding  out  on  a  blood-horse)  in  serving 
the  house,  and  relieving  the  perplexities  of  his  fellow-travellers.     No 

89 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

one  but  a  Londoner  would  volunteer  his  assistance  in  this  way. 
Amiable  land  of  Cockayne,  happy  in  itself,  and  in  making  others 
happy !  Blest  exuberance  of  self-satisfaction,  that  overflows  upon 
others  !     Delightful  impertinence,  that  is  forward  to  oblige  them  ! 

There  is  something  in  being  near  the  sea,  like  the  confines  of 
eternity.  It  is  a  new  element,  a  pure  abstraction.  The  mind  loves 
to  hover  on  that  which  is  endless,  and  forever  the  same.  People 
wonder  at  a  steam-boat,  the  invention  of  man,  managed  by  man,  that 
makes  its  liquid  path  like  an  iron  railway  through  the  sea — I  wonder 
at  the  sea  itself,  that  vast  Leviathan,  rolled  round  the  earth,  smiling 
in  its  sleep,  waked  into  fury,  fathomless,  boundless,  a  huge  world  of 
water-drops — Whence  is  it,  whither  goes  it,  is  it  of  eternity  or  of 
nothing  ?  Strange,  ponderous  riddle,  that  we  can  neither  penetrate 
nor  grasp  in  our  comprehension,  ebbing  and  flowing  like  human  life, 
and  swallowing  it  up  in  thy  remorseless  womb, — what  art  thou  ? 
What  is  there  in  common  between  thy  life  and  ours,  who  gaze  at 
thee  ?  Blind,  deaf  and  old,  thou  seest  not,  hearest  not,  understandest 
not ;  neither  do  we  understand,  who  behold  and  listen  to  thee ! 
Great  as  thou  art,  unconscious  of  thy  greatness,  unwieldy,  enormous, 
preposterous  twin-birth  of  matter,  rest  in  thy  dark,  unfathomed  cave 
of  mystery,  mocking  human  pride  and  weakness.  Still  is  it  given  to 
the  mind  of  man  to  wonder  at  thee,  to  confess  its  ignorance,  and  to 
stand  in  awe  of  thy  stupendous  might  and  majesty,  and  of  its  own 
being,  that  can  question  thine  !      But  a  truce  with  reflections. 

The  Pavilion  at  Brighton  is  like  a  collection  of  stone  pumpkins  and 
pepper-boxes.  It  seems  as  if  the  genius  of  architecture  had  at  once 
the  dropsy  and  the  megrims.  Any  thing  more  fantastical,  with  a 
greater  dearth  of  invention,  was  never  seen.  The  King's  stud  (if 
they  were  horses  of  taste)  would  petition  against  so  irrational  a 
lodging. 

Brighton  stands  facing  the  sea,  on  the  bare  cliffs,  with  glazed 
windows  to  reflect  the  glaring  sun,  and  black  pitchy  bricks  shining 
like  the  scales  of  fishes.  The  town  is  however  gay  with  the  influx 
of  London  visitors — happy  as  the  conscious  abode  of  its  sovereign  ! 
Every  thing  here  appears  in  motion — coming  or  going.  People  at  a 
watering-place  may  be  compared  to  the  flies  of  a  summer  ;  or  to 
fashionable  dresses,  or  suits  of  clothes  walking  about  the  streets.  The 
only  idea  you  gain  is,  of  finery  and  motion.  The  road  between 
London  and  Brighton  presents  some  very  charming  scenery ;  Reigate 
is  a  prettier  English  country-town  than  is  to  be  found  anywhere — out 
of  England !  As  we  entered  Brighton  in  the  evening,  a  Frenchman 
was  playing  and  singing  to  a  guitar.  It  was  a  relief  to  the  conversa- 
tion in  the  coach,  which  had  been  chiefly  supported  in  a  nasal  tone  by 

90 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

a  disciple  of  Mrs.  Fry  and  amanuensis  of  philanthropy  in  general. 
As  we  heard  the  lively  musician  warble,  we  forgot  the  land  of 
Sunday-schools  and  spinning-jennies.  The  genius  of  the  South  had 
come  out  to  meet  us. 

We  left  Brighton  in  the  steam-packet,  and  soon  saw  the  shores  of 
Albion  recede  from  us.  Out  of  sight,  out  of  mind.  How  poor  a 
geographer  is  the  human  mind !  How  small  a  space  does  the 
imagination  take  in  at  once !  In  travelling,  our  ideas  change  like  the 
scenes  of  a  pantomime,  displacing  each  other  as  completely  and 
rapidly.  Long  before  we  touched  on  French  ground,  the  English 
coast  was  lost  in  distance,  and  nothing  remained  of  it  but  a  dim  mist ; 
it  hardly  seemed  '  in  a  great  pool  a  swan's  nest.'  So  shall  its  glory 
vanish  like  a  vapour,  its  liberty  like  a  dream  ! 

We  had  a  fine  passage  in  the  steam-boat  (Sept.  i,  1824).  Not 
a  cloud,  scarce  a  breath  of  air  ;  a  moon,  and  then  star-light,  till  the 
dawn,  with  rosy  fingers,  ushered  us  into  Dieppe.  Our  fellow- 
passengers  were  pleasant  and  unobtrusive,  an  English  party  of  the 
better  sort :  a  Member  of  Parliament,  delighted  to  escape  from  '  late 
hours  and  bad  company ; '  an  English  General,  proud  of  his  bad 
French ;  a  Captain  in  the  Navy,  glad  to  enter  a  French  harbour 
peaceably ;  a  Country  Squire,  extending  his  inquiries  beyond  his 
paternal  acres ;  the  younger  sons  of  wealthy  citizens,  refined  through 
the  strainers  of  a  University-education  and  finishing  off  with  foreign 
travel ;  a  young  Lawyer,  quoting  Peregrine  Pickle,  and  divided 
between  his  last  circuit  and  projected  tour.  There  was  also  a  young 
Dutchman,  looking  mild  through  his  mustachios,  and  a  new-married 
couple  (a  French  Jew  and  Jewess)  who  grew  uxorious  from  the 
effects  of  sea-sickness,  and  took  refuge  from  the  qualms  of  the 
disorder  in  paroxysms  of  tenderness.  We  had  some  diiEculty  in 
getting  into  the  harbour,  and  had  to  wait  till  morning  for  the  tide. 
I  grew  very  tired,  and  laid  the  blame  on  the  time  lost  in  getting  some 
restive  horses  on  board,  but  found  that  if  we  had  set  out  two  hours 
sooner,  we  should  only  have  had  to  wait  two  hours  longer.  The 
doctrine  of  Optimism  is  a  very  good  and  often  a  very  true  one  in 
travelling.  In  advancing  up  the  steps  to  give  the  officers  our 
passport,  I  was  prevented  by  a  young  man  and  woman,  who  said  they 
were  before  me,  and  on  making  a  second  attempt,  an  elderly 
gentleman  and  lady  set  up  the  same  claim,  because  they  stood  behind 
me.  It  seemed  that  a  servant  was  waiting  with  passports  for  four. 
Persons  in  a  certain  class  of  life  are  so  full  of  their  own  business  and 
importance,  that  they  imagine  every  one  else  must  be  aware  of  it — 
I  hope  this  is  the  last  specimen  I  shall  for  some  time  meet  with  of 
city-manners.     After  a  formal   custom-house   search,  we   procured 

91 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

admittance  at  Pratt's  Hotel,  where  they  said  they  had  reserved  a  bed 
for  a  Lady.  France  is  a  country  where  they  give  honneur  aux  Dames. 
The  window  looked  out  on  the  bridge  and  on  the  river,  which 
reflected  the  shipping  and  the  houses ;  and  we  should  have  thought 
ourselves  luckily  off,  but  that  the  bed,  which  occupied  a  niche  in  the 
sitting-room,  had  that  kind  of  odour  which  could  not  be  mistaken  for 
otto  of  roses. 

Dieppe. — This  town  presents  a  very  agreeable  and  romantic 
appearance  to  strangers.  It  is  cut  up  into  a  number  of  distinct 
divisions  by  canals,  drawbridges,  and  bastions,  as  if  to  intercept  the 
progress  of  an  enemy.  The  best  houses,  too,  are  shut  up  in  close 
courts  and  high  walls  on  the  same  principle,  that  is,  to  stand  a  further 
siege  in  the  good  old  times.  There  are  rows  of  lime-trees  on  the 
quay,  and  some  of  the  narrow  streets  running  from  it  look  like  wells. 
This  town  is  a  picture  to  look  at ;  it  is  a  pity  that  it  is  not  a  nosegay, 
and  that  the  passenger  who  ventures  to  explore  its  nooks  and  alleys 
is  driven  back  again  by  '  a  compound  of  villainous  smells,'  which 
seem  to  grow  out  of  the  ground.  In  walking  the  streets,  one  must 
take  one's  nose  with  one,  and  that  sense  is  apt  to  be  offended  in 
France  as  well  as  in  Scotland.  Is  it  hence  called  in  French  the 
organ  of  sense  ?  The  houses  and  the  dresses  are  equally  old-fashioned. 
In  France  one  lives  in  the  imagination  of  the  past;  in  England  every 
thing  is  new  and  on  an  improved  plan.  Such  is  the  progress  of 
mechanical  invention  !  In  Dieppe  there  is  one  huge,  mis-shapen,  but 
venerable-looking  Gothic  Church  (a  theological  fixture,)  instead  of 
twenty  new-fangled  erections,  Egyptian,  Greek  or  Coptic.  The 
head-dresses  of  the  women  are  much  the  same  as  those  which  the 
Spectator  laughed  out  of  countenance  a  hundred  years  ago  in  England, 
with  high  plaited  crowns,  and  lappets  hanging  down  over  the 
shoulders.  The  shape  and  colours  of  the  bodice  and  petticoat  are 
what  we  see  in  Dutch  pictures ;  the  faces  of  the  common  people  we 
are  familiarized  with  in  Mieris  and  Jan  Steen.  They  are  full  and 
fair  like  the  Germans,  and  have  not  the  minced  and  peaked  character 
we  attribute  to  the  French.  They  are  not  handsome,  but  good- 
natured,  expressive,  placid.  They  retain  the  look  of  peasants  more 
than  the  town's-people  with  us,  whether  from  living  more  in  the  open 
air,  or  from  greater  health  and  temperance,  I  cannot  say.  What 
I  like  in  their  expression  (so  far)  is  not  the  vivacity,  but  the  good- 
ness, the  simplicity,  the  thoughtful  resignation.  The  French  are 
full  of  gesticulation  when  they  speak ;  they  have  at  other  times  an 
equal  appearance  of  repose  and  content.  You  see  the  figure  of  a  girl 
sitting  in  the  sun,  so  still  that  her  dress  seems  like  streaks  of  red  and 
black  chalk  against  the  wall ;   a   soldier  reading ;  a  group  of  old 

92 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

women  (with  skins  as  tough,  yellow,  and  wrinkled  as  those  of  a 
tortoise)  chatting  in  a  corner  and  laughing  till  their  sides  are  ready  to 
split ;  or  a  string  of  children  tugging  a  fishing-boat  out  of  the  harbour 
as  evening  goes  down,  and  making  the  air  ring  with  their  songs  and 
shouts  of  merriment  (a  sight  to  make  Mr.  Malthus  shudder ! ).  Life 
here  glows,  or  spins  carelessly  round  on  its  soft  axle.  The  same 
animal  spirits  that  supply  a  fund  of  cheerful  thoughts,  break  out  into 
all  the  extravagance  of  mirth  and  social  glee.  The  air  is  a  cordial 
to  them,  and  they  drink  drams  of  sunshine.  My  particular  liking  to 
the  French  is,  however,  confined  to  their  natural  and  unsophisticated 
character.  The  good  spirits  '  with  which  they  are  clothed  and  fed,' 
and  which  eke  out  the  deficiencies  of  fortune  or  good  government, 
are  perhaps  too  much  for  them,  when  joined  with  external  advantages, 
or  artificial  pretensions.  Their  vivacity  becomes  insolence  in  office  ; 
their  success,  presumption ;  their  gentility,  affectation  and  grimace. 
But  the  national  physiognomy  (taken  at  large)  is  the  reflection  of 
good  temper  and  humanity.  One  thing  is  evident,  and  decisive  in 
their  favour — they  do  not  insult  or  point  at  strangers,  but  smile  on 
them  good-humouredly,  and  answer  them  civilly. 

'  Gay,  sprightly  land  of  mirth  and  social  ease, 
Pleas'd  with  thyself,  whom  all  the  world  can  please  !' 

Nothing  shews  the  contented  soul  within,  so  much  as  our  not 
seeking  for  amusement  in  the  mortifications  of  others  :  we  only  envy 
their  advantages,  or  sneer  at  their  defects,  when  we  are  conscious  of 
wanting  something  ourselves.  The  customs  and  employments  of  the 
people  here  have  a  more  primitive  and  picturesque  appearance  than  in 
England.  Is  it  that  with  us  every  thing  is  made  domestic  and 
commodious,  instead  of  being  practised  in  the  open  air,  and  subject 
to  the  casualties  of  the  elements  ?  For  instance,  you  see  the  women 
washing  clothes  in  the  river,  with  their  red  petticoats  and  bare  feet, 
instead  of  standing  over  a  washing-tub.  Human  life  with  us  is 
framed  and  set  in  comforts :  but  it  wants  the  vivid  colouring,  the 
glowing  expression  that  we  meet  elsewhere.  After  all,  is  not  the 
romantic  effect  produced  partly  owing  to  the  novelty  of  the  scene ; 
or  do  we  not  attribute  to  a  superiority  in  others  what  is  merely  a 
greater  liveliness  of  impression  in  ourselves,  arising  from  curiosity 
and  contrast  ?  If  this  were  all,  foreigners  ought  to  be  as  much 
delighted  with  us,  but  they  are  not.  A  man  and  woman  came  and 
sung  '  God  save  the  King,'  before  the  windows  of  the  Hotel,  as  if 
the  French  had  so  much  loyalty  at  present  that  they  can  spare  us 
some  of  it.  What  an  opinion  must  they  have  formed  of  the  absurd 
nationality  of  the  English,  to  suppose  that  we  can  expect  them  to 

93 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

feel  this  sort  of  mock-sentiment  towards  our  King  !  What  English 
ballad-singer  would  dream  of  flattering  the  French  visitors  by  a  song 
in  praise  of  Louis  le  Desire  before  a  Brighton  or  a  Dover  Hotel  ? 

As  the  door  opened  just  now,  I  saw  the  lad  or  garfon,  who  waits 
on  us,  going  up  stairs  with  a  looking-glass,  and  admiring  himself  in  it. 
If  he  is  pleased  with  himself,  he  is  no  less  satisfied  with  us,  and  with 
every  thing  else. 


CHAPTER  n 

The  road  from  Dieppe  to  Rouen  is  highly  interesting.  You  at  first 
ascend  a  straight  steep  hill,  which  commands  a  view  of  the  town  and 
harbour  behind  you,  with  villas  on  each  side,  something  between 
modern  cottages  and  antique  castles ;  and  afterwards,  from  the  top  of 
the  hill,  the  prospect  spreads  out  over  endless  plains,  richly  cultivated. 
It  has  been  conjectured  that  the  English  borrowed  their  implements 
and  modes  of  husbandry  from  their  Norman  Conquerors  ;  the  resem- 
blance is,  indeed,  complete  to  a  deception.  You  might  suppose  one 
side  of  the  channel  was  transported  to  the  other,  from  the  general 
aspect  of  the  country,  from  the  neatness  of  the  orchard-plots,  the 
gardens,  and  farm-yards.  Every  thing  has  a  look  of  the  greatest 
industry  and  plenty.  There  is  a  scanty  proportion  of  common 
pasturage ;  but  rich  fields  of  clover,  oats,  barley,  and  vetches,  with 
luxuriant  crops  ready  to  cut,  are  presented  to  the  eye  in  uninterrupted 
succession ;  there  are  no  wastes,  no  barren,  thankless  enclosures ; 
every  foot  of  ground  seems  to  be  cultivated  with  the  utmost  success. 
It  is  in  vain  after  this  to  talk  of  English  agriculture,  as  if  no  such 
thing  existed  anywhere  else.  Agriculture  can  do  no  more  than 
make  provision  that  every  part  of  the  soil  is  carefully  tilled,  and  raise 
the  finest  crops  from  it.  The  only  distinctive  feature  is,  that  there 
are  here  no  hedges  along  the  road-side,  their  place  being  supplied  by 
rows  of  apple-trees  or  groves  of  elm  and  poplar,  which  stretch  out 
before  you  in  lengthened  vistas,  as  far  as  the  eye  can  reach.  We 
like  this,  whatever  Mr.  Mac-Adam  may  object ;  and  moreover,  the 
roads  here  are  as  good  as  his.  To  be  sure,  they  are  much  broader, 
and  admit  of  this  collateral  improvement.  Shady  plantations  open 
their  arms  to  meet  you,  closing  in  a  point,  or  terminated  by  a  turn  in 
the  road ;  and  then  you  enter  upon  another  long  hospitable  avenue, 

'  Bidding  the  lovely  scenes  at  distance  hail ; ' 

the  smiling  landscape  waves  on  either  side  to  a  considerable  extent ; 
you  pass  a   shepherd  tending  his   flock,   or   a   number   of  peasants 
94 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

returning  from  market  in  a  light  long  waggon,  like  a  hen-coop ;  the 
bells  of  the  horses  jingle,  the  postilion  cracks  his  whip,  or  speaks  to 
them  with  a  friendly  voice,  and  the  Diligence  rolls  on,  at  the  rate  of 
six  miles  an  hour  towards  Paris! — Travelling  is  much  cheaper  in 
France  than  in  England.  The  distance  from  Dieppe  to  Rouen  is 
thirty-six  miles,  and  we  only  paid  eight  francs,  that  is,  six  shillings 
and  eight  pence  a-piece,  with  two  francs  more  to  the  guide  and 
postilion,  which  is  not  fourpence  a  mile,  including  all  expenses.  On 
the  other  hand,  you  have  not  the  advantage  of  taking  an  outside 
place  at  half-price,  as  a  very  trifling  difference  is  made  in  this 
respect. 

The  Diligence  itself  cuts  a  very  awkward  figure,  compared  with 
our  stage-coaches.  There  is  much  the  same  difference  as  between 
a  barge  and  a  pleasure-boat ;  but  then  it  is  roomy  and  airy,  and 
remarkably  easy  in  its  motion.  In  the  common  mechanic  arts  the 
French  attend  to  the  essential  only ;  we  are  so  fond  of  elegance  and 
compactness,  that  we  sacrifice  ease  to  show  and  finish.  The  harness 
of  the  horses  is  made  of  ropes  or  rusty  leather,  and  it  is  wonderful 
how  they  get  along  so  well  as  they  do,  three,  or  sometimes  four 
a-breast.  The  apples  of  the  orchards  hang  over  the  road-side,  which 
speaks  well  for  the  honesty  of  the  inhabitants,  or  the  plenty  of  the 
country.  The  women  appear  to  work  a  good  deal  out  of  doors. 
Some  of  the  older  ones  have  strangely  distorted  visages,  and  those 
horrid  Albert-Durer  chins  and  noses,  that  have  been  coming  together 
for  half  a  century.  The  younger  ones  are  handsome,  healthy- 
looking,  animated ;  a  better  sort  of  English  country  girls.  The 
character  of  French  coquetry  prevails  even  here,  and  you  see  a 
young  peasant-girl,  broiling  in  the  sun,  with  a  blue  paper  cap  on  her 
head,  that  glitters  like  the  smoothest  satin,  and  that  answers  the 
purpose  of  finery  just  as  well.  I  observed  that  one  man  frequently 
holds  the  plough  and  guides  the  horses  without  any  one  else  to  assist 
him,  as  they  do  in  Scotland,  and  which  in  England  they  hold  to  be 
an  agricultural  heresy.  In  Surrey,  where  an  English  gentleman  had 
hired  a  Scotch  servant  to  try  this  method,  the  boors  actually  collected 
round  the  man  in  the  church-yard  on  Sunday,  and  pointed  at  him, 
crying,  'That's  he  who  ploughs  and  drives  the  horses  himself!' 
Our  prejudices  are  no  less  on  the  alert,  and  quite  as  obstinate  against 
what  is  right  as  what  is  wrong.  I  cannot  say  I  was  quite  pleased 
with  my  barber  at  Dieppe,  who  inserted  a  drop  of  citron  juice  in  the 
lather  I  was  to  shave  with,  and  converted  it  into  a  most  agreeable 
perfume.  It  was  an  association  of  ideas,  a  false  refinement,  to  which 
I  had  not  been  accustomed,  and  to  which  I  was  averse.  The  best 
excuse  I  could  find  for  my  reluctance  to  be  pleased,  was  that  at  the 

95 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

next  place  where  the  same  thing  was  attempted,  the  operator,  by 
some  villainous  mixture,  almost  stunk  me  to  death ! 

The  entrance  into  Rouen,  through  extensive  archways  of  tall 
trees,  planted  along  the  margin  of  the  Seine,  is  certainly  delectable. 
Here  the  genius  of  civilized  France  first  began  to  display  itself. 
Companies  of  men  and  women  were  sitting  in  the  open  air,  enjoying 
the  cool  of  the  evening,  and  the  serene  moonlight,  under  Chinese 
lamps,  with  fruit  and  confectionery.  We  arrived  rather  late,  but 
were  well  received  and  accommodated  at  the  Hotel  Vatel.  My  bad 
French  by  no  means,  however,  conciliates  the  regard  or  increases  the 
civility  of  the  people  on  the  road.  They  pay  particular  attention, 
and  are  particularly  delighted  with  the  English,  who  speak  French 
well,  or  with  tolerable  fluency  and  correctness,  for  they  think  it  a 
compliment  to  themselves  and  to  the  language ;  whereas,  besides 
their  dislike  to  all  difficulty  and  uncertainty  of  communication,  they 
resent  an  obvious  neglect  on  this  point  as  an  affront,  and  an  unwarrant- 
able assumption  of  superiority,  as  if  it  were  enough  for  an  Englishman 
to  shew  himself  among  them  to  be  well  received,  without  so  much  as 
deigning  to  make  himself  intelligible.  A  person,  who  passes  through 
a  country  in  sullen  silence,  must  appear  very  much  in  the  character  of 
a  spy.  Many  things  (a  native  is  conscious)  will  seem  strange  to  a 
foreigner,  who  can  neither  ask  the  meaning,  nor  understand  the 
explanation  of  them ;  and  on  the  other  hand,  if  in  these  circumstances 
you  are  loquacious  and  inquisitive,  you  become  proportionably  trouble- 
some. It  would  have  been  better  (such  is  the  natural  feeling,  the 
dictate  at  once  of  self-love  and  common  sense)  to  have  learned  the 
language  before  you  visited  the  country.  An  accent,  an  occasional 
blunder,  a  certain  degree  of  hesitation  are  amusing,  and  indirectly 
flatter  the  pride  of  foreigners ;  but  a  total  ignorance  or  wilful 
reluctance  in  speaking  shews  both  a  contempt  for  the  people,  and  an 
inattention  to  good  manners.  To  neglect  to  make  one's  self  master 
of  a  language  tacitly  implies,  that  in  travelling  through  a  country  we 
have  neither  wants  nor  wishes  to  gratify ;  that  we  are  quite  in- 
dependent, and  have  no  ambition  to  give  pleasure,  or  to  receive 
instruction. 

At  Rouen  the  walls  of  our  apartment  were  bare,  being  mere  lath 
and  plaster,  a  huge  cobweb  hung  in  the  window,  the  curtains  were 
shabby  and  dirty,  and  the  floor  without  carpetting  or  matting;  but 
our  table  was  well-furnished,  and  in  the  English  taste.  French 
cooking  comprehends  English,  and  easily  condescends  to  it ;  so  that 
an  Englishman  finds  himself  better  off  in  France  than  a  Frenchman 
does  in  England.  They  complain  that  our  cookery  is  dry,  and  our 
solid,  unsavoury  morsels,  beef-steaks,  and  mutton  chops,  must  stick  in 

96 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

their  throats  as  well  as  be  repulsive  to  their  imaginations ;  nor  can 
we  supply  the  additional  sauces  or  disguises  which  are  necessary  to 
set  them  off.  On  the  other  hand,  we  had  a  dinner  at  the  Hotel 
Vatel,  a  roast  fowl,  greens,  and  bacon,  as  plain,  as  sweet,  and  whole- 
some, as  we  could  get  at  an  English  farm-house.  We  had  also 
pigeons,  partridges,  and  other  game,  in  excellent  preservation,  and 
kept  quite  clear  of  French  receipts  and  odious  ragouts.  Game  or 
poultry  is  the  half-way  house,  a  sort  of  middle  point,  between  French 
and  English  cookery.  The  bread  here  is  excellent,  the  butter 
admirable,  the  mUk  and  coffee  superior  to  what  we  meet  with  at 
home.  The  wine  and  fruit,  too,  are  delightful,  but  real  French 
dishes  are  an  abomination  to  an  English  palate.  Unless  a  man 
means  to  stay  all  his  life  abroad,  let  him  beware  of  making  the 
experiment,  or  get  near  enough  to  the  door  to  make  his  exit  suddenly. 
The  common  charges  at  the  inns  are  much  the  same  as  in  England ; 
we  paid  twenty-pence  for  breakfast,  and  half  a  crown,  or  three 
shillings,  for  dinner.  The  best  Burgundy  is  only  three  shillings  and 
four-pence  a  bottle.  A  green  parrot  hung  in  a  cage,  in  a  small  court 
under  our  window,  and  received  the  compliments  and  caresses  of 
every  one  who  passed.  It  is  wonderful  how  fond  the  French  are  of 
holding  conversation  with  animals  of  all  descriptions,  parrots,  dogs, 
monkeys.  Is  it  that  they  choose  to  have  all  the  talk  to  themselves, 
to  make  propositions,  and  fancy  the  answers ;  that  they  like  this 
discourse  by  signs,  hy  jabbering,  and  gesticulation,  or  that  the  mani- 
festation of  the  principle  of  life  without  thought  delights  them  above 
all  things  ?  The  sociableness  of  the  French  seems  to  expand  itself 
beyond  the  level  of  humanity,  and  to  be  unconscious  of  any  descent. 
Two  boys  in  the  kitchen  appeared  to  have  nothing  to  do  but  to  beat 
up  the  white  of  eggs  into  froth  for  salads.  The  labour  of  the  French 
costs  them  nothing,  so  that  they  readily  throw  it  away  in  doing 
nothing  or  the  merest  trifles.  A  nice-looking  girl  who  officiated  as 
chamber-maid,  brought  in  a  ripe  melon  after  dinner,  and  offering  it 
with  much  grace  and  good  humour  as  'un  petit  cadeau'  (a  trifling 
present)  was  rather  hurt  we  did  not  accept  of  it.  Indeed  it  was 
wrong.  A  Mr.  James  Williams  acted  as  our  English  interpreter 
while  we  staid,  and  procured  us  places  in  the  Paris  Diligence,  though 
it  was  said  to  be  quite  full.  We  here  also  heard  that  the  packet 
we  came  over  in,  blew  up  two  days  after,  and  that  the  passengers 
escaped  in  fishing-boats.  This  has  completed  my  distaste  to  steam- 
boats. 

The  city  of  Rouen  is  one  of  the  oldest  and  finest  in  France.  It 
contains  about  a  hundred  thousand  inhabitants,  two  noble  churches ; 
a  handsome  quay  is  embosomed  in  a  range  of  lofty  hills,  and  watered 

VOL.  IX.  :  G  97 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

by  the  Seine,  which,  proud  of  its  willowy  banks  and  tufted  islands, 
winds  along  by  it.  The  ascent  up  the  rising  grounds  behind  it,  is 
magnificent  beyond  description.  The  town  is  spread  out  at  your 
feet  (an  immense,  stately  mass  of  dark  grey  stone),  the  double  towers 
of  the  old  Gothic  Cathedral,  and  of  the  beautiful  Church  of  St. 
Antoine,  rise  above  it  in  their  majestic  proportions,  overlooking  the 
rich  sunny  valleys  which  stretch  away  in  the  distance ;  you  gradually 
climb  an  amphitheatre  of  hills,  sprinkled  with  gardens  and  villas  to 
the  very  top,  and  the  walk  on  Sunday  afternoon  is  crowded  with 
people  enjoying  the  scene,  adding  to  its  animation  by  their  intelligent, 
varying  looks,  and  adorning  it  by  their  picturesque  and  richly- 
coloured  dresses.  There  is  no  town  in  England  at  the  same  time  so 
fine,  and  so  finely  situated.  Oxford  is  as  fine  in  its  buildings  and 
associations,  but  it  has  not  the  same  advantages  of  situation :  Bristol 
is  as  fine  a  mass  of  buildings,  but  without  the  same  striking  accom- 
paniments— 

'The  pomp  of  groves  and  garniture  of  fields.' 

Edinburgh  alone  is  as  splendid  in  its  situation  and  buildings,  and 
would  have  even  a  more  imposing  and  delightful  effect  if  Arthur's 
Seat  were  crowned  with  thick  woods,  if  the  Pentland-hills  could  be 
converted  into  green  pastures,  if  the  Scotch  people  were  French,  and 
Leith-walk  planted  with  vineyards !  The  only  blot  in  this  fair  scene 
was  the  meeting  with  a  number  of  cripples,  whose  hideous  cries 
attracted  and  alarmed  attention  before  their  formidable  mutilations 
became  visible,  and  who  extorted  charity  rather  from  terror  than 
pity.  Such  objects  abound  in  France  and  on  the  Continent.  Is  it 
from  the  want  of  hospitals,  or  from  the  bad  care  taken  of  the  young 
and  necessitous,  to  whom  some  dreadful  accident  has  happened  ? — 
The  hill  that  commands  this  beautiful  prospect,  and  seems  the  resort 
of  health,  of  life,  of  pleasure,  is  called  (as  I  found  on  inquiry)  Mont 
des  Malades !  Would  any  people  but  the  French  think  of  giving  it 
so  inauspicious  a  title  ?  To  the  English  such  a  name  would  spoil 
the  view,  and  infect  the  imagination  with  the  recollections  of  pain 
and  sickness.  But  a  Frenchman's  imagination  is  proof  against  such 
weaknesses ;  he  has  no  sympathy  except  with  the  pleasurable ;  and 
provided  a  hill  presents  an  agreeable  prospect,  never  troubles  his 
head  whether  the  inhabitants  are  sick  or  well.  The  streets  of 
Rouen,  like  those  of  other  towns  in  France,  are  dirty  for  the 
same  reason.  A  Frenchman's  senses  and  understanding  are  alike 
inaccessible  to  pain — he  recognises  (happily  for  himself)  the 
existence  only  of  that  which  adds  to  his  importance  or  his 
satisfaction.  He  is  delighted  with  perfumes,  but  passes  over  the 
98 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

most  offensive  smells,^  and  will  not  lift  up  his  little  finger  to  remove 
a  general  nuisance,  for  it  is  none  to  him.  He  leaves  the  walls  of  his 
houses  unfinished,  dilapidated,  almost  uninhabitable,  because  his 
thoughts  are  bent  on  adorning  his  own  person — on  jewels,  trinkets, 
pomade  divine !  He  is  elaborate  in  his  cookery  and  his  dress,  because 
the  one  flatters  his  vanity,  the  other  his  appetite  ;  and  he  is  licentious 
in  his  pleasures,  nay  gross  in  his  manners,  because  in  the  first  he 
consults  only  his  immediate  gratification,  and  in  the  last  annoys  others 
continually,  from  having  no  conception  that  any  thing  he  (a  French- 
man) can  do  can  possibly  annoy  them.  He  is  sure  to  offend,  because 
he  takes  it  for  granted  he  must  please.  A  great  deal  of  ordinary 
French  conversation  might  be  spared  before  foreigners,  if  they  knew 
the  pain  it  gives.  Virtue  is  not  only  put  out  of  countenance  by  it, 
but  vice  becomes  an  indifferent  common-place  in  their  mouths.  The 
last  stage  of  human  depravity  is,  when  vice  ceases  to  shock — or  to 
please.  A  Frenchman's  candour  and  indifference  to  what  must  be 
thought  of  him  (combined  with  his  inordinate  desire  to  shine)  are 
curious.  The  hero  of  his  own  little  tale  carries  a  load  of  crimes  and 
misfortunes  at  his  back  like  a  lead  of  band-boxes,  and  (light-hearted 
wretch)  sings  and  dances  as  he  goes !  The  inconsequentiality  in  the 
French  character,  from  extreme  facility  and  buoyancy  of  impression, 
is  a  matter  of  astonishment  to  the  English.  A  young  man  at  Rouen 
was  walking  briskly  along  the  street  to  church,  all  the  way  tossing 
his  prayer-book  into  the  air,  when  suddenly  on  reaching  the  entrance 

^  One  wonld  tbink  that  a  people  so  devoted  to  perfumes,  who  deal  in  essences 
and  scents,  and  have  fifty  different  sorts  of  snuffs,  would  be  equally  nice,  and 
offended  at  the  approach  of  every  disagreeable  odour.  Not  so.  They  seem  to 
have  no  sense  of  the  disagreeable  in  smells  or  tastes,  as  if  their  heads  were  stuffed 
with  a  cold,  and  hang  over  a  dunghill,  as  if  it  were  a  bed  of  roses,  or  swallow  the 
most  detestable  dishes  with  the  greatest  relish.  The  nerve  of  their  sensibility  is 
bound  up  at  the  point  of  pain.  A  Frenchman  (as  far  as  I  can  find)  has  no  idea 
answering  to  the  word  nasty  ;  or  if  he  has,  feels  a  predilection  for,  instead  of  an 
aversion  to,  it.  So  in  morals  they  bid  fair  to  be  the  Sybarites  of  the  modern 
world.  They  make  the  best  of  every  thing  (which  is  a  virtue) — and  treat  the 
worst  with  levity  or  complaisance  (which  is  a  vice).  They  harbour  no  antipathies. 
They  would  swallow  Gil  Bias's  supper  as  a  luxury,  and  boast  of  it  afterwards  as  a 
feat.  Their  moral  system  is  not  sustained  by  the  two  opposite  principles  of 
attraction  and  repulsion,  for  they  are  shocked  at  nothing  :  what  excites  horror  or 
disgust  in  other  minds,  they  consider  as  a  bagatelle ;  it  is  resolved  into  an  abstrac- 
tion of  agreeable  sensations,  a  source  of  amusement.  There  is  an  oil  of  self- 
complacency  in  their  constitutions,  which  takes  the  sting  out  of  evil,  and  neutralizes 
the  poison  of  corruption.  They,  therefore,  can  commit  atrocities  with  impunity, 
and  wallow  in  disgrace  without  a  blush,  as  no  other  people  can.  There  is  Monsieur 
Chateaubriand,  for  instance.  Who  would  not  suppose  that  the  very  echo  of  his 
own  name  would  hoot  him  out  of  the  world  ?  So  far  from  it,  his  pamphlet  On 
the  CenmriUp  ba>  just  come  to  a  third  edition,  and  is  stuck  all  over  Paris  ! 

99 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

a  priest  appeared  coming  from  church,  and  he  fell  on  his  knees  on 
the  steps.  No  wonder  the  Popish  clergy  stand  up  for  their  religion, 
when  it  makes  others  fall  on  their  knees  before  them,  and  worship 
their  appearance  as  the  shadow  of  the  Almighty!  The  clergy  in 
France  present  an  agreeable  and  almost  necessary  foil  to  the  foibles 
of  the  national  character,  with  their  sombre  dress,  their  gravity,  their 
simplicity,  their  sanctity.  It  is  not  strange  they  exert  such  an 
influence  there :  their  professional  pretensions  to  learning  and  piety 
must  have  a  double  weight,  from  having  nothing  to  oppose  to  them 
but  frivolity  and  the  impulse  of  the  moment.  The  entering  the 
Cathedral  here  after  the  bustle  and  confusion  of  the  streets,  is  like 
entering  a  vault — a  tomb  of  worldly  thoughts  and  pleasures,  pointing 
to  the  skies.  The  slow  and  solemn  movements  of  the  Priests,  as 
grave  as  they  are  unmeaning,  resemble  the  spells  of  necromancers ; 
the  pictures  and  statues  of  the  dead  contrast  strangely  with  the  faces 
of  the  living ;  the  chaunt  of  the  Priests  sounds  differently  from  the 
jargon  of  the  common  people ;  the  little  oratories  and  cells,  with  some 
lone  mourner  kneeling  before  a  crucifix,  every  thing  leads  the  thoughts 
to  another  world,  to  death,  the  resurrection,  and  a  judgment  to  come. 
The  walls  and  ornaments  of  this  noble  pile  are  left  in  a  state  of  the 
most  lamentable  neglect,  and  the  infinite  number  of  paltry,  rush- 
bottomed  chairs,  huddled  together  in  the  aisle,  are  just  like  the 
rubbish  of  a  broker's  shop.  The  great  bell  of  the  Cathedral  is 
the  most  deep-mouthed  I  ever  heard,  •  swinging  slow  with  sullen 
roar,'  rich  and  sonorous,  and  hoarse  with  counting  the  flight  of  a 
thousand  years.  It  is  worth  while  to  visit  France,  were  it  only 
to  see  Rouen. 


CHAPTER  III 

The  Road  to  Paris. — They  vaunt  much  of  the  Lotuer  Road  from 
Rouen  to  Paris ;  but  it  is  not  so  fine  as  that  from  Dieppe  to  Rouen. 
You  have  comparatively  few  trees,  the  soil  is  less  fertile,  and  you  are 
(nearly  the  whole  way)  tantalized  with  the  vast,  marshy-looking 
plains  of  Normandy,  with  the  Seine  glittering  through  them  like  a 
snake,  and  a  chain  of  abrupt  chalky  hills,  like  a  wall  or  barrier 
bounding  them.  There  is  nothing  I  hate  like  a  distant  prospect 
without  any  thing  interesting  in  it— it  is  continually  dragging  the  eye 
a  wearisome  journey,  and  repaying  it  with  barrenness  and  deformity. 
Yet  a  Frenchman  contrived  to  make  a  panegyric  on  this  scene,  after 
the  fashion  of  his  countrymen,  and  with  that  sort  of  tripping  jerk 
which  is  peculiar  to  their  minds  and  bodies — *  II  y  a  de  Peau,  il  y  a 
lOO 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

dti  bots,  U  y  a  des  montagnes,  il  y  a  de  la  verdure,^  &c.  It  is  true, 
there  were  all  these  things  in  the  abstract,  or  as  so  many  detached 
particulars  to  make  a  speech  about,  which  was  all  that  he  wanted. 
A  Frenchman's  eye  for  nature  is  merely  nominal.  I  find  that  with 
the  novelty,  or  on  farther  experience  my  enthusiasm  for  the  country 
and  the  people,  palls  a  little.  During  a  long  day's  march  (for  I  was 
too  late,  or  rather  too  ill  to  go  by  the  six  o'clock  morning  Diligence,) 
I  got  as  tired  of  toiling  on  under  a  scorching  sun  and  over  a  dusty 
road,  as  if  I  had  been  in  England.  Indeed,  I  could  almost  have 
fancied  myself  there,  for  I  scarcely  met  with  a  human  being  to 
remind  me  of  the  difference.  I  at  one  time  encountered  a  horseman 
mounted  on  a  demipique  saddle,  in  a  half  military  uniform,  who  seemed 
determined  to  make  me  turn  out  of  the  foot-path,i  or  to  ride  over  me. 
This  looked  a  little  English,  though  the  man  did  not.  I  should  take 
him  for  an  Exciseman.  I  suppose  in  all  countries  people  on  horse- 
back give  themselves  airs  of  superiority  over  those  who  are  on  foot. 
The  French  character  is  not  altogether  compounded  of  the  amiable, 
any  more  than  the  English  is  of  the  respectable.  In  judging  of 
nations,  it  will  not  do  to  deal  in  mere  abstractions.  In  countries,  as 
well  as  individuals,  there  is  a  mixture  of  good  and  bad  qualities  ;  yet 
we  may  attempt  to  strike  a  general  balance,  and  compare  the  rules 
with  the  exceptions.  Soon  after  my  equestrian  adventure  (or  escape,) 
I  met  with  another  pleasanter  one ;  a  little  girl,  with  regular  features 
and  dark  eyes,  dressed  in  white,  and  with  a  large  straw  bonnet 
flapping  over  her  face,  was  mounted  behind  a  youth  who  seemed  to 
be  a  relation,  on  an  ass — a  common  mode  of  conveyance  in  this 
country.  The  young  lad  was  trying  to  frighten  her,  by  forcing  the 
animal  out  of  its  usual  easy  pace  into  a  canter,  while  she,  holding 
fast,  and  between  laughing  and  crying,  called  out  in  a  voice  of  great 
sweetness  and  naivete — '  //  n' est  pas  bon  trotter,  il  n' est  pas  bon  trotter.' 
There  was  a  playfulness  in  the  expression  of  her  terrors  quite  charm- 
ing, and  quite  French.  They  turned  down  an  avenue  to  a  villa  a 
little  way  out  of  the  road.  I  could  not  help  looking  after  them,  and 
thinking  what  a  delightful  welcome  must  await  such  innocence,  such 
cheerfulness,  and  such  dark  sparkling  eyes !  Mais  allons.  These 
reflections  are  perhaps  misplaced :  France  is  not  at  present  altogether 
the  land  of  gallantry  or  sentiment,  were  one  ever  so  much  disposed 
to  them. 

Within  half  a  mile  of  Louviers  (which  is  seven  leagues  from 
Rouen)  a  Diligence  passed  me  on  the  road  at  the  full  speed  of  a 
French  Diligence,  rolling  and  rumbling  on  its  way   over  a  paved 

^  This  is  not  correct ;  there  is  no  foot-path  in  France,  but  there  is  a  side-path, 
claiming,  I  presume,  the  same  privileges. 

lOI 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

road,  with  five  clumsy-looking  horses,  and  loaded  to  the  top  like  a 
Plymouth  van.  I  was  to  stop  at  Louviers,  at  the  Hotel  de  Mouton, 
and  to  proceed  to  Paris  by  the  coach  the  next  day ;  for  I  was  told 
there  was  no  conveyance  onwards  that  day,  and  I  own  that  this 
apparition  of  a  Diligence  in  full  sail,  and  in  broad  day  (when  I  had 
understood  there  were  none  but  night  coaches)  surprised  me.  I  was 
going  to  set  it  down  in  '  my  tables,'  that  there  is  no  faith  to  be  placed 
in  what  they  say  at  French  inns.  I  quickened  my  pace  in  hopes  of 
overtaking  it  while  it  changed  horses.  The  main  street  of  Louviers 
appeared  to  me  very  long  and  uneven.  On  turning  a  corner,  the 
Hotel  de  Mouton  opened  its  gates  to  receive  me,  the  Diligence 
was  a  little  farther  on,  with  fresh  horses  just  put  to  and  ready  to  start 
(a  critical  and  provoking  dilemma;)  I  hesitated  a  moment,  and  at 
last  resolved  to  take  my  chance  in  the  Diligence,  and  seeing  Paris 
written  on  the  outside,  and  being  informed  by  Monsieur  le  Conducteur, 
that  I  could  stop  at  Evreux  for  the  night,  I  took  the  rest  for  granted, 
and  mounted  in  the  cabriolet,  where  sat  an  English  gentleman  (one 
of  those  with  whom  I  had  come  over  in  the  steam-boat,)  solitary  and 
silent.  My  seating  myself  in  the  opposite  corner  of  the  cabriolet 
(which  is  that  part  of  a  French  Diligence  which  is  placed  in  front, 
and  resembles  a  post-chaise  in  form  and  ease,)  did  not  break  the 
solitude  or  the  silence.  In  company,  ttvo  negatmes  do  not  make  an 
affirmative.  I  know  few  things  more  delightful  than  for  two  English- 
men to  loll  in  a  post-chaise  in  this  manner,  taking  no  notice  of  each 
other,  preserving  an  obstinate  silence,  and  determined  to  send  their 
country  to  Coventry^  We  pretended  not  to  recognise  each  other,  and 
yet  our  saying  nothing  proved  every  instant  that  we  were  not  French. 
At  length,  about  half  way,  my  companion  opened  his  lips,  and  asked 
in  thick,  broken  French,  '  How  far  it  was  to  Evreux  ? '  I  looked  at 
him,  and  said  in  English,  'I  did  not  know.'  Not  another  word 
passed,  yet,  I  dare  say,  both  of  us  had  a  very  agreeable  time  of  it, 
as  the  Diligence  moved  on  to  Evreux,  making  reflections  on  the 
national  character,  and  each  thinking  himself  an  exception  to  its 
absurdities,  an  instance  of  its  virtues  ;  so  easy  is  it  always  (and  more 
particularly  abroad)  to  fancy  ourselves  free  from  the  errors  we  witness 
in  our  neighbours.  It  is  this,  indeed,  which  makes  us  so  eager  to 
detect  them,  as  if  to  see  what  is  wrong  was  the  same  thing  as  being 
in  the  right ! 

At  Evreux,  I  found  I  had  gone  quite  out  of  my  road,  and  that 
there  was  no  conveyance  to  Paris  till  the  same  hour  the  next  night. 
I  was  a  good  deal  mortified  and  perplexed  at  this  intelligence,  but 

•  '  There  is  nothing  which  an  Englishman  enjoys  so  much  as  the  pleasure  of 
sulkiness.' — Edinburgh  Rez/ieWjUo.  80. 
102 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

found  some  consolation  at  the  Office  where  I  obtained  it,  from 
casually  hearing  the  name  of  my  companion,  which  is  a  great  point 
gained  in  travelling.  Of  course,  the  discovery  is  pleasant,  if  it  is  a 
name  you  are  acquainted  with ;  or  if  not,  at  least  you  have  the  satis- 
faction of  knowing  it  is  some  one  you  do  not  know,  and  so  are  made 
easy  on  that  head.  I  bespoke  a  bed,  and  was  shown  into  the  common 
room,  where  I  took  coffee,  and  had  what  the  Scotch  call  a  brandered 
fowl  for  supper.  The  room  was  papered  with  marine  landscapes,  so 
that  you  seemed  sitting  in  the  open  air  with  boats  and  trees  and  the 
sea-shore  all  round  you,  and  Teleraachus  and  Calypso,  figures  landing 
or  embarking  on  halcyon  seas.  Even  a  country-inn  in  France  is 
classical.  It  is  a  pity  that  the  English  are  so  dull  and  sluggish,  '  like 
the  fat  weed  that  roots  itself  at  ease  on  Lethe's  wharf,'  that  they 
cannot  lend  themselves  to  these  airy  fictions,  always  staring  them  in 
the  face,  but  rather  turn  away  from  them  with  an  impatience  and 
disgust  proportioned  to  the  elegance  of  the  design  and  the  tax  levied 
on  their  taste.  A  Frenchman's  imagination,  on  the  contrary,  is 
always  at  the  call  of  his  senses.  The  latter  have  but  to  give  the  hint, 
and  the  former  is  glad  to  take  it !  I  tired  every  one  out  by  inquiring 
my  best  mode  of  getting  on  to  Paris  next  day ;  and  being  slow  to 
believe  that  my  only  way  was  to  go  back  to  Louviers,  like  a  fool  as  I 
had  come,  a  young  Frenchman  took  compassion  on  my  embarrassment, 
and  offered  to  be  my  interpreter,  '  as  he  spoke  both  languages.'  He 
said,  *  I  must  feel  great  pain  in  not  being  able  to  express  myself.' 
I  said  '  None  but  in  giving  others  the  trouble  to  understand  me.'  He 
shook  his  head,  I  spoke  much  too  fast  for  him ;  he  apologized  for  not 
being  able  to  follow  me  from  want  of  habit,  though  he  said,  '  he 
belonged  to  a  society  of  twelve  at  Paris,  where  they  spoke  English 
every  evening  generally.'  I  said, '  we  were  well  matched,'  and  when 
this  was  explained  to  him,  he  repeated  the  word  '  matched^  with  a 
ludicrous  air  of  distress,  at  finding  that  there  was  an  English  phrase 
which  was  not  familiarised  to  him  in  '  the  society  of  twelve,  where 
they  spoke  the  English  language  generally  every  evening.'  We  soon 
came  to  a  dead  stand,  and  he  turned  to  my  English  companion  in  the 
cabriolet,  on  whom  he  bestowed,  for  the  rest  of  the  evening,  the 
tediousness  of  any  '  society  of  twelve.'  I  could  not  help  laughing  to 
see  my  luckless  fellow-countryman,  after  one  or  two  attempts  to  rally 
and  exchange  remarks,  reduced  to  the  incessant  repetition  of  his 
melancholy  '  oa/,'  and  my  lively  Parisian  rioting  in  the  advantage  he 
had  obtained  over  a  straggling  Englishman,  gliding  from  topic  to  topic 
without  contradiction  or  control,  passing  from  the  population  of  Paris 
to  the  Beaux-Arts,  from  the  Belles-Lettres  to  politics,  running  the 
circle  of  knowledge,  and  finding  himself  still  at  home,  faltering  at  the 

103 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

mention  of  the  Allies  and  the  Bourbons,  and  rising  with  outstretched 
arm  and  continuous  voice  at  the  name  of  Buonopar-r  (like  the  eagle 
soaring  on  level  wing) — getting  nearer  and  nearer  the  victim  of  his 
volubility,  seizing  my  poor  friend  by  the  button,  and  at  last  retiring 
abruptly,  as  if  afraid  of  a  re-action,  and  wishing  him  '  good  repose  ' 
for  the  evening.  Happy  member  of  a  '  society  of  twelve !  '  Apt 
representative  of  thirty  millions  of  people,  who  build  their  self-esteem 
on  the  basis  of  vanity,  and  weave  happiness  out  of  breath,  which  costs 
them  nothing  !  Why  envy,  why  wish  to  interrupt  them,  like  a  mis- 
chievous school-boy,  who  throws  a  great  stone  into  a  pond  flill  of 
frogs,  who  croak  their  delights  '  generally  every  evening,'  and  who, 
the  instant  the  chasm  is  closed,  return  to  the  charge  with  unabated 
glee  and  joyous  dissonance ! 

I  must  not  forget  to  mention  a  favourable  trait  in  the  common 
French  character.  I  asked  to  speak  to  the  Conducteur,  and  some- 
thing like  a  charge  of  deception  was  brought,  from  which  he  defended 
himself  strenuously.  The  whole  kitchen  and  stable-yard  gathered 
round  to  hear  a  dispute,  which  was  by  no  means  waged  with  equal 
war  of  words.  They  understood  that  I  was  disappointed,  and  had 
made  a  ridiculous  mistake.  Not  a  word  or  look  of  derision  was 
observable  in  the  whole  group ;  but  rather  a  rising  smile,  suppressed 
for  fear  of  giving  pain,  and  a  wish  to  suggest  some  expedient  on  the 
occasion.  In  England,  I  will  venture  to  say,  that  a  Frenchman,  in 
similar  circumstances,  stammering  out  a  grave  charge  of  imposition 
against  a  coachman,  and  evidently  at  a  loss  how  to  proceed,  would 
have  been  hooted  out  of  the  place,  and  it  would  have  been  well  for 
him  if  he  had  escaped  without  broken  bones.  If  the  French  have 
the  vices  of  artificial  refinement  and  effeminacy,  the  English  still 
retain  too  many  of  those  which  belong  to  a  barbarous  and  savage 
state. 

I  returned  to  Louviers  the  next  morning  under  the  safe  conduct  of 
my  former  guide,  where  I  arrived  half  an  hour  before  the  necessary 
time,  found  myself  regularly  booked  for  Paris,  with  five  francs  paid 
on  account;  and  after  a  very  comfortable  breakfast,  where  I  was 
waited  on  by  a  pretty,  modest-looking  brunette  (for  the  French 
country-girls  are  in  general  modest-looking,)  I  took  my  seat  in  the 
fourth  place  of  the  Diligence.  Here  I  met  with  every  thing  to  annoy 
an  Englishman.  There  was  a  Frenchman  in  the  coach,  who  had  a 
dog  and  a  little  boy  with  him,  the  last  having  a  doll  in  his  hands, 
which  he  insisted  on  playing  with ;  or  cried  and  screamed  furiously 
if  it  was  taken  from  him.  It  was  a  true  French  child ;  that  is,  a 
little  old  man,  like  Leonardo  da  Vinci's  Laughing  Boy,  with  eyes 
glittering  like  the  glass  ones  of  his  favourite  doll,  with  flaxen  ringlets 

1 04 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

like  hers,  with  cheeks  as  smooth  and  unhealthy,  and  a  premature 
expression  of  cunning  and  self-complacency.  A  disagreeable  or  ill- 
behaved  child  in  a  stage  coach  is  a  common  accident,  and  to  be 
endured.  But  who  but  a  Frenchmen  would  think  of  carrying  his 
dog  ?  He  might  as  well  drag  his  horse  into  the  coach  after  him.  A 
Frenchman  (with  leave  be  it  spoken)  has  no  need  to  take  a  dog  with 
him  to  ventilate  the  air  of  a  coach,  in  which  there  are  three  other 
Frenchmen.  It  was  impossible  to  suffer  more  from  heat,  from 
pressure,  or  from  the  periodical  'exhalation  of  rich-distilled  perfumes.' 
If  the  French  have  lost  the  sense  of  smell,  they  should  reflect  (as 
they  are  a  reflecting  people)  that  others  have  not.  Really,  I  do  not 
see  how  they  have  a  right  in  a  public  vehicle  to  assault  one  in  this 
way  by  proxy,  any  more  than  to  take  one  literally  by  the  nose.  One 
does  not  expect  from  the  most  refined  and  polished  people  in  Europe 
grossnesses  that  an  Esquimaux  Indian  would  have  too  much  sense 
and  modesty  to  be  guilty  of.  If  the  presence  of  their  dogs  is  a 
nuisance,  the  conversation  of  their  masters  is  often  no  less  offensive  to 
another  sense — both  are  suffocating  to  every  body  but  themselves, 
and  worthy  of  each  other.  Midas  whispered  his  secret  to  the  reeds, 
that  whispered  it  again.  The  French,  if  they  are  wise,  ought  not  to 
commit  the  national  character  on  certain  delicate  points  in  the  manner 
they  do.  While  they  were  triumphant,  less  caution  might  be 
necessary :  but  no  people  can  afford  at  the  same  time  to  be  odious 
as  well  as  contemptible  in  the  eyes  of  their  enemies.  We  dined  at 
Mantes,  where  the  ordinary  was  plentiful  and  excellent,  and  where  a 
gentleman  of  a  very  prepossessing  appearance  took  up  the  conversation 
(descanting  on  the  adventures  of  a  shooting-party  the  day  before)  in 
that  gay,  graceful,  and  animated  tone,  which  I  conceive  to  be 
characteristic  of  the  best  French  society.  In  talking  and  laughing, 
he  discovered  (though  a  young  man)  the  inroads  which  hot  soups 
and  high-seasoned  ragouts  had  made  in  his  mouth,  with  the  same 
alacrity  and  good-humour  as  if  he  had  to  shew  a  complete  set  of  the 
whitest  teeth.  We  passed  an  interesting  village,  situated  on  the  slope 
of  a  hill,  with  a  quaint  old  tower  projecting  above  it,  and  over-hanging 
the  Seine.  Not  far  from  the  high  road  stands  Rosny,  once  the  seat 
of  the  celebrated  Sully.  The  approach  to  the  capital  on  the  side  of 
St.  Germain's  is  one  continued  succession  of  imposing  beauty  and 
artificial  splendour,  of  groves,  of  avenues,  of  bridges,  of  palaces, 
and  of  towns  like  palaces,  all  the  way  to  Paris,  where  the  sight  of 
the  Thuilleries  completes  the  triumph  of  external  magnificence,  and 
oppresses  the  soul  with  recollections  not  to  be  borne  or  to  be 
expressed! — Of  them,  perhaps,  hereafter. 

In  the  coach  coming  along,  a  Frenchman  was  curious  to  learn  of  a 

105 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

Scotch  gentleman,  who  spoke  very  respectable  French,  whether  Lord 
Byron  was  much  regretted  in  England  ?  He  said  there  was  much 
beauty  in  his  writings,  but  too  much  straining  after  effect.  He 
added,  that  there  was  no  attempt  at  effect  in  Racine.  This  with 
the  French  is  a  final  appeal  in  matters  of  poetry  and  taste.  A 
translation  of  Lord  Byron's  Works  complete  is  common  in  all  the 
shops  here.  I  am  not  sure  whether  an  English  Poet  ought  to  be 
proud  of  this  circumstance  or  not.  I  also  saw  an  Elegy  on  his  Death 
advertised,  said  to  be  written  by  his  friend.  Sir  Thomas  More. 
How  oddly  the  French  combine  things !  There  is  a  Sir  Thomas 
More  in  English  History  and  Letters ;  but  that  Sir  Thomas  More 
is  not  this  Mr.  Thomas  Moore — '  let  their  discreet  hearts  believe  it ! ' 


CHAPTER  IV 

The  first  thing  I  did  when  I  got  to  Paris  was  to  go  to  the  Louvre. 
It  was  indeed  '  first  and  last  and  midst '  in  my  thoughts.  Well 
might  it  be  so,  for  it  had  never  been  absent  from  them  for  twenty 
years.  I  had  gazed  myself  almost  blind  in  looking  at  the  precious 
works  of  art  it  then  contained — should  I  not  weep  myself  blind  in 
looking  at  them  again,  after  a  lapse  of  half  a  life — or  on  finding  them 
gone,  and  with  them  gone  all  that  I  had  once  believed  and  hoped  of 
human  kind  ?  What  could  ever  fill  up  that  blank  in  my  heart,  fearful 
to  think  upon — fearful  to  look  upon  ?  I  was  no  longer  young  ;  and 
he  who  had  collected  them,  and  '  worn  them  as  a  rich  jewel  in  his 
Iron  Crown,'  was  dead,  a  captive  and  vanquished ;  and  with  him  all 
we  who  remained  were  ♦  thrown  into  the  pit,'  the  lifeless  bodies  of 
men,  and  wore  round  our  necks  the  collar  of  servitude,  and  on  our 
foreheads  the  brand,  and  in  our  flesh  and  in  our  souls  the  stain  of 
thraldom  and  of  the  born  slaves  of  Kings.  Yet  thus  far  had  I  come 
once  more  '  to  dream  and  be  an  Emperour  !  '  Thou  sacred  shrine  of 
God-like  magnificence,  must  not  my  heart  fail  and  my  feet  stumble, 
as  I  approach  thee  ?  How  gladly  would  I  kneel  down  and  kiss  thy 
threshold  ;  and  crawl  into  thy  presence,  like  an  Eastern  slave !  For 
here  still  linger  the  broken  remains  and  the  faded  splendour  of  that 
proud  monument  of  the  triumphs  of  art  and  of  the  majesty  of  man's 
nature  over  the  mock-majesty  of  thrones  !  Here  Genius  and  Fame 
dwell  together ;  '  School  calleth  unto  School,'  and  mighty  names 
answer  to  each  other ;  that  old  gallery  points  to  the  long,  dim  per- 
spective of  waning  years,  and  the  shadow  of  Glory  and  of  Liberty  is 
seen  afar  off.  In  pacing  its  echoing  floors,  I  hear  the  sound  of  the 
1 06 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

footsteps  of  my  youth,  and  the  dead  start  from  their  slumbers !  .  .  . 
In  all  the  time  that  I  had  been  away  from  thee,  and  amidst  all  the 
changes  that  had  happened  in  it,  did  I  ever  forget,  did  I  ever  profane 
thee  ?  Never  for  a  moment  or  in  thought  have  I  swerved  from  thee, 
or  from  the  cause  of  which  thou  wert  the  pledge  and  crown.  Often 
have  I  sought  thee  in  sleep,  and  cried  myself  awake  to  find  thee,  with 
the  heart-felt  yearnings  of  intolerable  affection.  Still  didst  thou  haunt 
me,  like  a  passionate  dream — like  some  proud  beauty,  the  queen  and 
mistress  of  my  thoughts.  Neither  pain  nor  sickness  could  wean  me 
from  thee — 

'  My  theme  in  crowds,  my  solitary  pride.' 

In  the  tangled  forest  or  the  barren  waste — in  the  lowly  hovel  or  the 
lofty  palace,  thy  roofs  reared  their  vaulted  canopy  over  my  head,  a 
loftier  palace,  an  ampler  space — a  'brave  o'er-hanging  firmament,' 
studded  with  constellations  of  art.  Wherever  I  was,  thou  wert  with 
me,  above  me  and  about  me ;  and  didst  '  hang  upon  the  beatings  of 
my  heart,'  a  vision  and  a  joy  unutterable.  There  was  one  chamber 
of  the  brain  (at  least)  which  I  had  only  to  unlock  and  be  master  of 
boundless  wealth — a  treasure-house  of  pure  thoughts  and  cherished 
recollections.  Tyranny  could  not  master,  barbarism  slunk  from  it ; 
vice  could  not  pollute,  folly  could  not  gainsay  it.  I  had  but  to  touch 
a  certain  spring,  and  lo !  on  the  walls  the  divine  grace  of  Guido 
appeared  free  from  blemish — there  were  the  golden  hues  of  Titian, 
and  Raphael's  speaking  faces,  the  splendour  of  Rubens,  the  gorgeous 
gloom  of  Rembrandt,  the  airy  elegance  of  Vandyke,  and  Claude's 
classic  scenes  lapped  the  senses  in  Elysium,  and  Poussin  breathed  the 
spirit  of  antiqmty  over  them.  There,  in  that  fine  old  lumber-room 
of  the  imagination,  were  the  Transfiguration,  and  the  St.  Peter 
Martyr,  with  its  majestic  figures  and  its  unrivalled  landscape  back- 
ground. There  also  were  the  two  St.  Jeromes,  Domenichino's  and 
Correggio's — there  '  stood  the  statue  that  enchants  the  world ' — 
there  were  the  Apollo  and  the  Antinous,  the  Laocoon,  the  Dying 
Gladiator,  Diana  and  her  Fawn,  and  all  the  glories  of  the  antique 
world — 

'  There  was  old  Proteus  coming  from  the  sea, 
And  aged  Triton  blew  his  wreathed  horn.' 

But  Legitimacy  did  not  •  sit  squat,  like  a  toad,'  in  one  corner  of  it, 
poisoning  the  very  air,  and  keeping  the  free-born  spirit  aloof  from  it ! 
There  were  one  or  two  pictures  (old  favourites)  that  I  wished  to 
see  again,  and  that  I  was  told  still  remained.  I  longed  to  know 
whether  they  were  there,  and  whether  they  would  look  the  same. 
It  was  fortunate  I  arrived  when  I  did ;  for  a  week  later  the  doors 

107 


NOTES  OF  A  JOURNEY 

would  have  been  shut  against  me,  on  occasion  of  the  death  of  the 
King.  His  bust  is  over  the  door,  which  I  had  nearly  mistaken  for 
a  head  of  Memnon — or  some  Egyptian  God.  After  passing  through 
the  modern  French  Exhibition  (where  I  saw  a  picture  by  Sir 
Thomas  Lawrence,  and  a  vile  farrago  of  Bourbon-Restoration  pic- 
tures,) I  came  within  sight  of  the  Grand  Gallery  of  the  Louvre, 
which  is  at  present  only  railed  off.  One  or  two  English  stragglers 
alone  were  in  it.  The  coolness  and  stillness  were  contrasted  with 
the  bustle,  the  heat,  and  the  smell  of  the  common  apartments.  My 
thoughts  rushed  in  and  filled  the  empty  space.  Instead  of  the  old 
Republican  door-keepers,  with  their  rough  voices  and  affectation  of 
equality,  a  servant  in  a  court-livery  stood  at  the  gate.  On  presenting 
myself,  I  inquired  if  a  Monsieur  Livernois  (who  had  formerly  ushered 
me  into  this  region  of  enchantment)  were  still  there ;  but  he  was 
gone  or  dead.  My  hesitation  and  foreign  accent,  with  certain  other 
appeals,  procured  me  admittance.  I  passed  on  without  further 
question.  I  cast  a  glance  forward,  and  found  that  the  Poussins  were 
there.  At  the  sight  of  the  first,  which  I  distinctly  recollected  (a 
fine  green  landscape,  with  stately  ruins,)  the  tears  came  into  my  eyes, 
and  I  passed  an  hour  or  two  in  that  state  of  luxurious  enjoyment, 
which  is  the  highest  privilege  of  the  mind  of  man,  and  which  perhaps 
makes  him  amends  for  many  sorrows.  To  my  surprise,  instead  of 
finding  the  whole  changed,  I  found  every  thing  nearly  in  its  place,  as 
I  proceeded  through  the  first  compartments,  which  I  did  slowly,  and 
reserving  the  Italian  pictures  for  a  bon  bouche.  The  colours  even 
seemed  to  have  been  mellowed,  and  to  have  grown  to  the  walls  in 
the  last  twenty  years,  as  if  the  pictures  had  been  fixed  there  by  the 
cramping-irons  of  Victory,  instead  of  hanging  loose  and  fluttering, 
like  so  much  tattered  canvass,  at  the  sound  of  English  drums,  and 
breath  of  Prussian  manifestoes.  Nothing  could  be  better  managed 
than  the  way  in  which  they  had  blended  the  Claudes  and  Poussins 
alternately  together — the  ethereal  refinement  and  dazzling  brilliancy 
of  the  one  relieving  and  giving  additional  zest  to  the  sombre,  grave, 
massive  character  of  the  other.  Claude  Lorraine  pours  the  spirit  of 
air  over  all  objects,  and  new-creates  them  of  light  and  sun-shine.  In 
several  of  his  master-pieces  which  are  shewn  here,  the  vessels,  the 
trees,  the  temples  and  middle  distances  glimmer  between  air  and  solid 
substance,  and  seem  moulded  of  a  new  element  in  nature.  No  words 
can  do  justice  to  their  softness,  their  precision,  their  sparkling  effect. 
But  they  do  not  lead  the  mind  out  of  their  own  magic  circle.  They 
repose  on  their  own  beauty  ;  they  fascinate  with  faultless  elegance. 
Poussin's  landscapes  are  more  properly  pictures  of  time  than  of  place. 
They  have  a  fine  moral  perspective,  not  inferior  to  Claude's  aerial 
1 08 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

one.  They  carry  the  imagination  back  two  or  four  thousand  years 
at  least,  and  bury  it  in  the  remote  twilight  of  history.  There  is  an 
opaqueness  and  solemnity  in  his  colouring,  assimilating  with  the  tone 
of  long-past  events  :  his  buildings  are  stiff  with  age ;  his  implements 
of  husbandry  are  such  as  would  belong  to  the  first  rude  stages  of 
civilization ;  his  harvests  are  such  (as  in  the  Ruth  and  Boaz)  as 
would  yield  to  no  modern  sickle ;  his  grapes  (as  in  the  Return  from 
the  Promised  Land)  are  a  load  to  modern  shoulders ;  there  is  a 
simplicity  and  undistinguishing  breadth  in  his  figures ;  and  over  all, 
the  hand  of  time  has  drawn  its  veil.  Poussin  has  his  faults ;  but,  like 
all  truly  great  men,  there  is  that  in  him  which  is  to  be  found  nowhere 
else ;  and  even  the  excellences  of  others  would  be  defects  in  him. 
One  picture  of  his  in  particular  drew  my  attention,  which  I  had  not 
seen  before.  It  is  an  addition  to  the  Louvre,  and  makes  up  for 
many  a  flaw  in  it.  It  is  the  Adam  and  Eve  in  Paradise,  and  it  is  all 
that  Mr.  Martin's  picture  of  that  subject  is  not.  It  is  a  scene  of 
sweetness  and  seclusion  '  to  cure  all  sadness  but  despair.'  There  is 
the  freshness  of  the  first  dawn  of  creation,  immortal  verdure,  the 
luxuriant  budding  growth  of  unpruned  Nature's  gifts,  the  stillness  and 
the  privacy,  as  if  there  were  only  those  two  beings  in  the  world, 
made  for  each  other,  and  with  this  world  of  beauty  for  the  scene  of 
their  delights.  It  is  a  Heaven  descended  upon  earth,  as  if  the  finger 
of  God  had  planted  the  garden  with  trees  and  fruits  and  flowers,  and 
his  hand  had  watered  it !  One  fault  only  can  be  found  by  the  critical 
eye.  Perhaps  the  scene  is  too  flat.  If  the  '  verdurous  wall  of 
Paradise '  had  upreared  itself  behind  our  first  parents,  it  would  have 
closed  them  in  more  completely,  and  would  have  given  effect  to  the 
blue  hills  that  gleam  enchantment  in  the  distance.  Opposite, '  in 
darkness  visible,'  hangs  the  famous  landscape  of  the  Deluge  by  the 
same  master-hand,  a  leaden  weight  on  the  walls  with  the  ark  '  hulling ' 
on  the  distant  flood,  the  sun  labouring,  wan  and  faint,  up  the  sky, 
and  the  heavens,  '  blind  with  rain,'  pouring  down  their  total  cisterns 
on  the  weltering  earth.  Men  and  women  and  different  animals  are 
struggling  with  the  wide-spread  desolation ;  and  trees,  climbing  the 
sides  of  rocks,  seem  patiently  awaiting  it  above.  One  would  think 
Lord  Byron  had  transcribed  his  admirable  account  of  the  Deluge  in 
his  Heaven  and  Earth  from  this  noble  picture,  which  is  in  truth  the 
very  poetry  of  painting. — One  here  finds  also  the  more  unequivocal 
productions  of  the  French  school  (for  Claude  and  Poussin  ^  were  in 

^  We  may  trace  something  of  their  national  origin  in  both  their  minds.  In 
Claude  there  is  the  French  Jinicalnas,  and  love  of  minute  details  ;  but  there  is  a 
Jiision  of  all  these  into  the  most  perfect  harmony  from  the  influence  of  a  southern 
sky,  and  he  has  none  of  the  flimsiness  or  littleness  of  effect,  to  which  his  country- 

109 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

a  great  measure  Italian,)  Le  Brun,  Sebastian  Bourdon,  some  of  Le 
Sueur's  expressive  faces,  and  the  bland  expansive  style  of  Philip 
Champagne — no  mean  name  in  the  history  of  art.  See,  in  particular, 
the  exquisite  picture  of  the  Sick  Nun,  (the  Nun  was  his  own 
daughter,  and  he  painted  this  picture  as  a  present  to  the  Convent,  in 
gratitude  for  her  recovery,) — and  another  of  a  Religious  Communion, 
with  attendants  in  rich  dresses. 

One  finds  no  considerable  gap,  till  one  comes  to  the  Antwerp 
pictures  ;  and  this  yawning  chasm  is  not  ill  supplied  by  the  Luxem- 
bourg pictures,  those  splendid  solecisms  of  Rubens' s  art.  Never  was 
exhibited  a  greater  union  of  French  flutter  and  Gothic  grace,  of 
borrowed  absurdity  and  inherent  power.  He  has  made  a  strange 
jumble  of  the  Heathen  mythology,  his  own  wives,  and  the  mistresses 
of  Louis  XIII.  His  youthful  Gods  are  painted  all  light  and  air,  and 
figure  in  quaintly  enough,  with  some  flaunting  Dowager  dressed  in 
the  height  of  the  fashion  in  the  middle  of  the  1 7th  century,  or  with 
some  strapping  quean  (his  queens  are  queans)  with  her  robes  of  rich 
stuffs  slipping  off  her  shoulders,  and  displaying  limbs  that,  both  for 
form  and  hue,  provoke  any  feeling  but  indifference.  His  groups 
spring  from  the  bold  licentious  hand  of  genius  ;  and  decorated  in  the 
preposterous  finery  of  courtly  affectation,  puzzle  the  sense.  I  do  not 
think  with  David  (the  celebrated  French  painter)  that  they  ought  to 
be  burnt,  but  he  has  himself  got  possession  of  their  old  places  in  the 
Luxembourg,  and  perhaps  he  is  tolerably  satisfied  with  this  arrange- 
ment. A  landscape  with  a  rainbow  by  Rubens  (a  rich  and  dazzling 
piece  of  colouring)  that  used  to  occupy  a  recess  half-way  down  the 
Louvre,  was  removed  to  the  opposite  side.  The  singular  picture 
(the  Defeat  of  Goliath,  by  Daniel  Volterra,)  painted  on  both  sides 
on  slate,  still  retained  its  station  in  the  middle  of  the  room.  It  had 
hung  there  for  twenty  years  unmolested.  The  Rembrandts  keep 
their  old  places,  and  are  as  fine  as  ever,  with  their  rich  enamel,  their 
thick  lumps  of  colour,  their  startling  gloom,  and  bold  execution — 

men  are  prone.  Again,  it  cannot  be  denied  that  there  is  a  certain  setness  and 
formality,  a  didactic  or  prosing  vein  in  Nicolas  Poussin's  compositions.  He  pro- 
ceeds on  system,  has  a  deliberate  purpose  to  make  out,  and  is  often  laboured, 
monotonous,  and  extravagant.  His  pictures  are  the  linest  subjects  in  the  world 
for  French  criticism — to  point  the  moral,  or  detach  an  episode.  He  is  somewhat 
pedantic  and  over-significant,  in  the  manner  of  French  orators  and  poets.  He 
had,  like  his  countrymen,  no  great  eye  for  nature  or  truth  of  expression  ;  but  he 
had  what  they  chiefly  want — imagination^  or  the  power  of  placing  himself  in  the 
circumstances  of  others.  Poussin,  in  fact,  held  a  middle  place  between  Raphael 
and  other  painters  of  the  Italian  school,  who  have  embodied  the  highest  poetry  of 
expression,  and  the  common  run  of  French  artists,  whose  utmost  stretch  of  inven- 
tion reaches  no  farther  than  correctness  in  the  costume  and  chronology  of  their 
subject. 
110 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

their  ear-rings,  their  gold-chains,  and  fur-collars,  on  which  one  is 
disposed  to  lay  furtive  hands,  so  much  have  they  the  look  of  wealth 
and  substantial  use  !  The  Vandykes  are  more  light  and  airy  than 
ever.  There  is  a  whole  heap  of  them  ;  and  among  the  rest  that 
charming  portrait  of  an  English  lady  with  a  little  child  (as  fine  and 
true  a  compliment  as  was  ever  paid  to  the  English  female  character,) 
sustained  by  sweetness  and  dignity,  but  with  a  mother's  anxious 
thoughts  passing  slightly  across  her  serene  brow.  The  Cardinal 
Bentivoglio  (which  I  remember  procuring  especial  permission  to 
copy,  and  left  untouched,  because,  after  Titian's  portraits,  there  was 
a  want  of  interest  in  Vandyke's  which  I  could  not  get  over,)  is  not 
there.^  But  in  the  Dutch  division,  I  found  Weenix's  game,  the 
battle-pieces  of  Wouvermans,  and  Ruysdael's  sparkling  woods  and 
waterfalls  without  number.  On  these  (I  recollect  as  if  it  were 
yesterday)  I  used,  after  a  hard  day's  work,  and  having  tasked  my 
faculties  to  the  utmost,  to  cast  a  mingled  glance  of  surprise  and 
pleasure,  as  the  light  gleamed  upon  them  through  the  high  casement, 
and  to  take  leave  of  them  with  a  non  equidem  Invideo,  miror  mag'ts. 

In  the  third  or  Italian  division  of  the  Gallery,  there  is  a  profusion 
of  Albanos,  with  Cupids  and  naked  Nymphs,  which  are  quite  in  the 
old  French  taste.  They  are  certainly  very  pleasing  compositions, 
but  from  the  change  produced  by  time,  the  figures  shew  like  beauty- 
spots  on  a  dark  ground.  How  inferior  is  he  to  Guido,  the  painter 
of  grace  and  sentiment,  two  of  whose  master-pieces  enchanted  me 
anew,  the  Annunciation  and  the  Presentation  in  the  Temple.  In 
each  of  these  there  is  a  tenderness,  a  delicacy  of  expression  like  the 
purest  affection,  and  every  attitude  and  turn  of  a  limb  is  conscious 
elegance  and  voluptuous  refinement.  The  pictures,  the  mind  of  the 
painter,  are  instinct  and  imbued  with  beauty.  It  is  worth  while  to 
have  lived  to  have  produced  works  like  these,  or  even  to  have  seen 
and  felt  their  power !  Painting  of  old  was  a  language  which  its 
disciples  used  not  merely  to  denote  certain  objects,  but  to  unfold  their 
hidden  meaning,  and  to  convey  the  finest  movements  of  the  soul  into 
the  limbs  or  features  of  the  face.  They  looked  at  nature  with  a 
feeling  of  passion,  with  an  eye  to  expression ;  and  this  it  was  that, 
while  they  sought  for  outward  forms  to  communicate  their  feelings, 
moulded  them  into  truth  and  beauty,  and  that  surrounds  them  with  an 
atmosphere  of  thought  and  sentiment.  To  admire  a  fine  old  picture 
is  itself  an  act  of  devotion,  and  as  we  gaze,  we  turn  idolaters.  The 
modems  are  chiefly  intent  on  giving  certain  lines  and  colours,  the 
mask  or  material  face  of  painting,  and  leave  out  the  immortal  part  of 
it.  Thus  a  modern  Exhibition  Room  (whether  French  or  English) 
'  It  i»  at  Florence. 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

has  a  great  deal  of  shew  and  glitter,  and  a  smell  of  paint  in  it.  In 
the  Louvre  we  are  thrown  back  into  the  presence  of  our  own  best 
thoughts  and  feelings,  the  highest  acts  and  emanations  of  the  mind  of 
man  breathe  from  the  walls,  shadowy  tears  and  sighs  there  keep  yigils, 
and  the  air  within  it  is  divine ! 

The  ideal  is  no  less  observable  in  the  portraits  than  in  the  histories 
here.  Look  at  the  portrait  of  a  man  in  black,  by  Titian  (No. 
1 210).  There  is  a  tongue  in  that  eye,  a  brain  beneath  that  fore- 
head. It  is  still ;  but  the  hand  seems  to  have  been  just  placed  on  its 
side  ;  it  does  not  turn  its  head,  but  it  looks  towards  you  to  ask, 
whether  you  recognise  it  or  not  ?  It  was  there  to  meet  me,  after  an 
interval  of  years,  as  if  I  had  parted  with  it  the  instant  before.  Its 
keen,  steadfast  glance  staggered  me  like  a  blow.  It  was  the  same — 
how  was  I  altered !  I  pressed  towards  it,  as  it  were,  to  throw  off  a 
load  of  doubt  from  the  mind,  or  as  having  burst  through  the  obstacles 
of  time  and  distance  that  had  held  me  in  torturing  suspense.  I  do 
not  know  whether  this  is  not  the  most  striking  picture  in  the  room — 
the  least  common-place.  There  may  be  other  pictures  more  delightful 
to  look  at ;  but  this  seems,  like  the  eye  of  the  Collection,  to  be 
looking  at  you  and  them.  One  might  be  tempted  to  go  up  and  speak 
to  it  !  The  allegorical  portrait  of  the  Marchioness  of  Guasto  is  still 
here,  transparent  with  tenderness  and  beauty — Titian's  Mistress,  that 
shines  like  a  crystal  mirror — the  Entombing  of  Christ,  solemn, 
harmonious  as  the  coming  on  of  evening — the  Disciples  at  Emmaus 
— and  the  Crowning  with  Thorns,  the  blood  here  and  there  seeming 
ready  to  start  through  the  flesh-colour,  which  even  English  artists 
have  not  known  enough  how  to  admire.  The  Young  Man's  Head, 
with  a  glove  that  used  so  much  to  delight,  I  confess,  disappointed 
me,  and  I  am  convinced  must  have  been  painted  upon.  There  are 
other  Titians,  and  a  number  of  Raphaels — the  Head  of  a  Student 
muffled  in  thought — his  own  delightful  Head  (leaning  on  its  hand) 
redolent  of  youthful  genius,  and  several  small  Holy  Families,  full  of 
the  highest  spirit  and  unction.  There  are  also  the  three  Marys  with 
the  Dead  Body  of  Christ,  by  L.  Caracci ;  the  Salutation  by  Sebastian 
del  Piombo  ;  the  noble  Hunting-piece,  by  Annibal  Caracci ;  the  fine 
Landscapes  of  Domenichino  (that  in  particular  of  the  story  of 
Hercules  and  Achelous,  with  the  trunk  of  a  tree  left  in  the  bed  of  a 
mountain-torrent)  ;  and  a  host  besides,  '  thick  as  the  autumnal  leaves 
that  strew  the  brooks  in  Vallombrosa,'  and  of  the  same  colour ! 
There  are  so  many  of  these  select  and  favourite  pictures  left,  that  one 
does  not  all  at  once  feel  the  loss  of  others  which  are  more  common 
in  prints  and  in  the  mouth  of  fame ;  and  the  absence  of  which  may 
be  considered  as  almost  an  advantage  for  a  first  recognition  and 

112 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

revival  of  old  associations.  But  afterwards  we  find  a  want  of  larger 
pictures  to  answer  to  the  magnitude  of  the  Collection,  and  to  sustain 
the  balance  of  taste  between  the  Italian  and  the  other  schools.  We 
have  here  as  fine  Claudes  and  Poussins  as  any  in  the  world,  but  not 
as  fine  Raphaels,  Correggios,  Domenichinos,  as  there  are  elsewhere, 
— as  were  once  here.  There  are  wanting,  to  make  the  gallery 
complete,  six  or  eight  capital  pictures,  the  Transfiguration,  the  St. 
Peter  Martyr,  &c. ;  and  among  others  (not  already  mentioned,)  the 
Altarpiece  of  St.  Mark,  by  Tintoret,  and  Paul  Veronese's  Marriage 
at  Cana.  With  these  it  had  been  perfect,  '  founded  as  the  rock,  as 
broad  and  general  as  the  casing  air  ; '  without  these  it  is  '  coop'd  and 
cabin'd  in  by  saucy  doubts  and  fears.'  The  largest  Collection  in  the 
world  ought  to  be  colossal,  not  only  in  itself,  but  in  its  component 
parts.  The  Louvre  is  a  quarter  of  a  mile  in  length,  and  equal  (as  it 
is)  to  Mr.  Angerstein's,  the  Marquess  of  Stafford's,  the  Dulwich 
Gallery,  and  Blenheim  put  together.  It  was  once  more  than  equal 
to  them  in  every  circumstance  to  inspire  genius  or  console  reflection. 
We  still  see  the  palace  of  the  Thuilleries  from  the  windows,  with  the 
white  flag  waving  over  it :  but  we  look  in  vain  for  the  Brazen  Horses 
on  its  gates,  or  him  who  placed  them  there,  or  the  pale  bands  of 
warriors  that  conquered  in  the  name  of  liberty  and  of  their  country  ! 


CHAPTER  V 

The  gravity  of  the  French  character  is  a  no  less  remarkable  (though 
a  less  obvious)  feature  in  it  than  its  levity.  The  last  is  the  quality 
that  strikes  us  most  by  contrast  to  ourselves,  and  that  comes  most 
into  play  in  the  intercourse  of  common  life ;  and  therefore  we  are 
generally  disposed  to  set  them  down  as  an  altogether  frivolous  and 
superficial  people.  It  is  a  mistake  which  we  shall  do  well  to  correct 
on  farther  acquaintance  with  them ;  or  if  we  persist  in  it,  we  must 
call  to  our  aid  an  extraordinary  degree  of  our  native  blindness  and 
obstinacy.  We  ought  never  to  visit  their  Theatres,  to  walk  along 
their  streets,  to  enter  their  houses,  to  look  in  their  faces  (when  they 
do  not  think  themselves  observed,)  to  open  their  books,  or  take  a 
view  of  their  picture-galleries.  Sterne  seems  to  have  been  the  first, 
as  well  as  last  traveller,  who  found  out  their  weak  side  in  this  respect. 
'If  the  French  have  a  fault,  Monsieur  le  Comte,'  says  he,  'it  is  that 
they  are  too  serious.'  This  contradiction  in  their  character  has  been 
little  noticed,  and  they  have  never  had  the  credit  of  it,  though  it 
stares  one  in  the  face  everywhere.  How  we  are  to  piece  the  two 
extremes  together  is  another  question.  Is  it  that  their  whole 
VOL.  IX. :  H  113 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

character  is  a  system  of  inconsequentiality^.  Or  are  they  gay  and 
trifling  in  serious  matters,  serious  only  in  trifles  ?  Or  are  their  minds 
more  of  the  cameleon-cast,  that  reflects  all  objects  alike,  whether 
grave  or  gay,  and  give  themselves  up  entirely,  and  without  resistance, 
to  the  prevailing  impulse  ?  Or  is  it  owing  to  a  want  of  comprehension, 
so  that  they  are  incapable  of  correcting  one  feeling  by  another,  and 
thus  run  into  extremes?  Or  that  they  have  a  greater  scope  and 
variety  of  resources,  excelling  us  as  much  in  gravity  as  in  want  of 
thought,  outdoing  us  in  tragedy  and  comedy,  as  they  betake  them- 
selves to  each,  in  the  poetical  or  in  the  prosaic  departments  of  life, 
only  that  they  sometimes  make  a  transposition  of  the  two  characters 
a  little  oddly,  and  pass  from  the  one  to  the  other  without  our  well 
knowing  why  I 

I  have  been  frequently  puzzled  with  this  exception  to  the  butterfly, 
airy,  thoughtless,  fluttering  character  of  the  French  (on  which  we 
compliment  ourselves,)  and  never  more  so  than  the  first  night  I  went 
to  the  theatre.  The  order,  the  attention,  the  decorum  were  such  as 
would  shame  any  London  audience.  The  attention  was  more  like 
that  of  a  learned  society  to  a  lecture  on  some  scientific  subject,  than 
of  a  promiscuous  crowd  collected  together  merely  for  amusement,  and 
to  pass  away  an  idle  hour.  There  was  a  professional  air,  an  unvarying 
gravity  in  the  looks  and  demeanour  of  the  whole  assembled  multitude, 
as  if  every  one  had  an  immediate  interest  in  the  character  of  the 
national  poetry,  in  the  purity  of  the  French  accent,  in  the  propriety 
of  the  declamation,  in  the  conceptions  of  the  actor,  and  the  develope- 
ment  of  the  story,  instead  of  its  presenting  a  mob  of  idle  boys  and 
girls,  of  ignorant  gaping  citizens,  or  supercilious  box-lobby  loungers, 
affecting  a  contempt  for  the  performance,  and  for  every  one  around 
them.  The  least  noise  or  irregularity  called  forth  the  most  instant 
and  lively  disapprobation ;  and  the  vivacity  of  the  French  character 
displayed  itself  to  advantage  in  earnest  gesticulations  and  expressions 
of  impatience.  Not  only  was  the  strictest  silence  observed,  as  soon 
as  the  curtain  drew  up,  but  no  one  moved  or  attempted  to  move. 
The  spell  thrown  over  the  customary  or  supposed  restlessness  and 
volatility  of  the  French  was  in  this  respect  complete.  The  uniformity 
of  the  appearance  was  indeed  almost  ridiculous ;  for  the  rows  of  heads 
in  the  seats  of  the  pit  no  more  stirred  or  projected  the  breadth  of  a 
finger  beyond  the  line,  than  those  of  a  regiment  of  recruits  on  parade, 
or  than  if  a  soldier  were  stationed  to  keep  each  chin  in  its  place. 
They  may  be  reduced  to  the  state  of  automatons ;  but  there  were  no 
traces  of  the  monkey  character  left.^     If  the  performance  had  been  at 

^  Is  not  a  monkey  grave  when  it  is  doing  nothing,  or  when  it  is  not  employed 
in  mischief? 
114 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

Court,  greater  propriety  could  not  have  been  maintained ;  but  it  was 
a  French  play  (one  of  Racine's)  and  acted  before  a  Parisian 
audience :  this  seemed  to  be  enough  to  ensure  it  a  proper  reception. 
One  would  suppose,  from  their  interest  in  dramatic  representations, 
that  the  French  were  a  nation  of  actors.  Perhaps  it  may  be  asked, 
'  Is  not  that  the  case  ?  and  is  it  not  their  vanity,  their  own  desire  to 
shine,  or  their  sympathy  with  whatever  or  whoever  is  a  candidate  for 
applause,  that  accounts  for  their  behaviour  ? '  At  least,  their  vanity 
makes  them  grave ;  and  if  it  is  this  which  rivets  their  attention,  and 
silences  their  eternal  loquacity,  it  must  be  allowed  to  produce  effects 
which  others  would  do  well  to  imitate  from  better  motives,  if  they 
have  them !  ^ 

The  play  was  not  much ;  but  there  seemed  to  be  an  abstract 
interest  felt  in  the  stage  as  such,  in  the  sound  of  the  verse,  in  the 
measured  step  of  the  actors,  in  the  recurrence  of  the  same  pauses,  and 
of  the  same  ideas ;  in  the  correctness  of  the  costume,  in  the  very 
notion  of  the  endeavour  after  excellence,  and  in  the  creation  of  an 
artificial  and  imaginary  medium  of  thought.  If  the  French  are  more 
susceptible  of  immediate,  sensible  impressions,  it  would  appear, 
judging  from  their  behaviour  at  their  own  theatres,  that  they  are  also 
more  sensible  of  reflex  and  refined  ones.  The  bare  suggestion  of  an 
interesting  topic  is  to  them  interesting :  it  may  be  said,  on  the  most 
distant  intimation,  to  excite  the  most  lively  concern,  and  to  collect 
their  scattered  spirits  into  a  focus.  Their  sensibility  takes  the  alarm 
more  easily ;  their  understanding  is  quicker  of  hearing.  With  them, 
to  the  sublime  or  pathetic  there  is  but  one  step — the  name;  the 
moment  the  subject  is  started,  they  '  jump  at '  the  catastrophe  and  all 
the  consequences.  We  are  slow,  and  must  have  a  thing  made  out  to 
us  in  striking  instances,  and  by  successive  blows.  We  are  sluggish, 
and  must  be  lifted  up  to  the  heights  of  a  factitious  enthusiasm  by  the 
complicated  machinery  of  a  powerful  imagination :  we  are  obstinate, 
not  to  say  selfish,  and  require  to  be  urged  over  the  abyss  of  mental 
anguish  -by  the  utmost  violence  of  terror  and  pity.  But  with  the 
French,  all  this  is  a  matter  of  course,  a  verbal  process.  Tears,  as 
well  as  smiles,  cost  them  less  than  they  do  us.  Words  are  more 
nearly  allied  to  things  in  their  minds ;  the  one  have  a  more  vital 
being,  though  it  does  not  follow  that  the  other  are  altogether  empty 
and  barren  of  interest.  But  the  French  seem  (in  their  dramatic 
exhibitions)  not  to  wish  to  get  beyond,  or  (shall  I  speak  it  more 
plainly?)  to  have  no  faculty  for  getting  beyond  the  abstract  con- 
ception, the  naked  proposition  of  the  subject.     They  are  a  people 

'  The  French  phrase  for  being  present  at  a  play  is,  to  assist  at  it.  It  must  be 
owned  that  there  is  some  appearance  of  truth  in  the  expression. 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

(I  repeat  it)  void  and  bare  of  the  faculty  of  imagination,  if  by  this 
we  mean  the  power  of  placing  things  in  the  most  novel  and  striking 
point  of  view ;  and  they  are  so  for  this  reason,  that  they  have  no  need 
of  it.  It  is  to  them  a  superfluity — a  thankless  toil.  Their  quick, 
discursive  apprehension  runs  on  before,  and  anticipates  and  defeats 
the  efforts  of  the  highest  poetry.  They  are  contented  to  indulge  in 
all  the  agony  or  ecstacy  of  sounding  and  significant  common-places. 
The  words  charming,  delicious,  indescribable.  Sec.  excite  the  same 
lively  emotions  in  their  minds  as  the  most  vivid  representations  of 
what  is  said  to  be  so ;  and  hence  verbiage  and  the  cant  of  sentiment 
fill  the  place,  and  stop  the  road  to  genius — a  vague,  flaccid,  enervated 
rhetoric  being  too  often  substituted  for  the  pith  and  marrow  of  truth 
and  nature.  The  greatest  facility  to  feel  or  to  comprehend  will  not 
produce  the  most  intense  passion,  or  the  most  electrical  expression  of 
it.  There  must  be  a  resistance  in  the  matter  to  do  this — a  collision, 
an  obstacle  to  overcome.  The  torrent  rushes  with  fury  from  being 
impeded  in  its  course  :  the  lightning  splits  the  gnarled  oak.  There 
is  no  malice  in  this  statement ;  but  I  should  think  they  may  them- 
selves allow  it  to  be  an  English  version  of  the  truth,  containing  a 
great  deal  that  is  favourable  to  them,  with  a  saving  clause  for  our  own 
use.  The  long  (and  to  us  tiresome)  speeches  in  French  tragedy 
consist  of  a  string  of  emphatic  and  well-balanced  lines,  announcing 
general  maxims  and  indefinite  sentiments  applicable  to  human  life. 
The  poet  seldom  commits  any  excesses  by  giving  way  to  his  own 
imagination,  or  identifying  himself  with  individual  situations  and 
sufferings.  We  are  not  now  raised  to  the  height  of  passion,  now 
plunged  into  its  lowest  depths ;  the  whole  finds  its  level,  like 
water,  in  the  liquid,  yielding  susceptibility  of  the  French  character, 
and  in  the  unembarrassed  scope  of  the  French  intellect.  The  finest 
line  in  Racine,  that  is,  in  French  poetry,  is  by  common  consent 
understood  to  be  the  following : — 

Craignez  Dieu,  mon  cher  Abner,  et  ne  craignez  que  Dieu. 

That  is.  Fear  God,  my  dear  Abner,  and  fear  only  him.  A  pious  and 
just  exhortation,  it  is  true ;  but,  when  this  is  referred  to  as  the  highest 
point  of  elevation  to  which  their  dramatic  genius  has  aspired,  though 
we  may  not  be  warranted  in  condemning  their  whole  region  of  poetry 
as  a  barren  waste,  we  may  consider  it  as  very  nearly  a  level  plain, 
and  assert,  that  though  the  soil  contains  mines  of  useful  truths  within 
its  bosom  and  glitters  with  the  graces  of  a  polished  style,  it  does  not 
abound  in  picturesque  points  of  view  or  romantic  interest !  It  is 
certain  that  a  thousand  such  lines  would  have  no  effect  upon  an 
English  audience  but  to  set  them  to  sleep,  like  a  sermon,  or  to  make 
ii6 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

them  commence  a  disturbance  to  avoid  it.  Yet,  though  the  declama- 
tion of  the  French  stage  is  as  monotonous  as  the  dialogue,  the  French 
listen  to  it  with  the  tears  in  their  eyes,  holding  in  their  breath, 
beating  time  to  the  cadence  of  the  verse,  and  following  the  actors 
with  a  book  in  their  hands  for  hours  together.  The  English  most 
assuredly  do  not  pay  the  same  attention  to  a  play  of  Shakspeare's,  or 
to  any  thing  but  a  cock-fight  or  a  sparring-match.  This  is  no  great 
compliment  to  them ;  but  it  makes  for  the  gravity  of  the  French,  who 
have  mistaken  didactic  for  dramatic  poetry,  who  can  sit  out  a  play 
with  the  greatest  patience  and  complacency,  that  an  Englishman 
would  hoot  off  the  stage,  or  yawn  over  from  beginning  to  end  for  its 
want  of  striking  images  and  lively  effect,  and  with  whom  Saturn  is  a 
God  no  less  than  Mercury !  I  am  inclined  to  suspect  the  genius  of 
their  religion  may  have  something  to  do  with  the  genius  of  their 
poetry.  The  first  absorbs  in  a  manner  their  powers  of  imagination, 
their  love  of  the  romantic  and  the  marvellous,  and  leaves  the  last  in 
possession  of  their  sober  reason  and  moral  sense.  Their  churches 
are  theatres ;  their  theatres  are  like  churches.  Their  fancies  are 
satiated  with  the  mummeries  and  pageantry  of  the  Catholic  faith,  with 
hieroglyphic  obscurity  and  quaint  devices ;  and,  when  they  come  to 
the  tangible  ground  of  human  affairs,  they  are  willing  to  repose  alike 
from  ornament  and  extravagance,  in  plain  language  and  intelligible 
ideas.  They  go  to  mass  in  the  morning  to  dazzle  their  senses,  and 
bewilder  their  imagination,  and  inflame  their  enthusiasm  ;  and  they 
resort  to  the  theatre  in  the  evening  to  seek  relief  from  superstitious 
intoxication  in  the  prose  of  poetry,  and  from  Gothic  mysteries  and 
gloom,  in  classic  elegance  and  costume.  Be  this  as  it  may,  the  love 
of  the  French  for  Racine  is  not  a  feeling  of  the  moment,  or  left 
behind  them  at  the  theatres  ;  they  can  quote  him  by  heart,  and  his 
sententious,  admirable  lines  occupy  the  next  place  in  their  minds  to 
their  amatory  poetry.  There  is  nothing  unpleasant  in  a  French  theatre 
but  a  certain  infusion  of  soup-maigre  into  the  composition  of  the  air, 
(so  that  one  inhales  a  kind  of  thin  pottage,)  and  an  oily  dinginess 
in  the  complexions  both  of  the  men  and  women,  which  shews  more 
by  lamp-light.  It  is  not  true  (as  has  been  said)  that  their  theatres 
are  nearly  dark,  or  that  the  men  stand  in  the  pit.  It  is  true,  none 
but  men  are  admitted  into  it,  but  they  have  seats  just  the  same  as 
with  us,  and  a  curious  custom  of  securing  their  places  when  they  go 
out,  by  binding  their  handkerchiefs  round  them,  so  that  at  the  end  of 
the  play  the  benches  presented  nothing  but  a  row  of  knotted  pocket 
handkerchiefs.  Almost  every  one  returned  and  sat  out  the  enter- 
tainment, which  was  not  a  farce,  but  a  sentimental  comedy,  and  a 
very  charming  one  too,  founded  on  the  somewhat  national  subject  of 

ri7 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

a  seduction  by  an  English  nobleman  in  France,  and  in  which  the  fair 
sufFerer  was  represented  by  a  young  debutante,  in  natural  expression 
and  pathos  little  inferior  to  Miss  Kelly,  (as  far  as  we  can  translate 
French  into  English  nature,)  but  fatter  and  prettier.  So  much  for 
their  taste  in  theatricals,  which  does  not  incline  wholly  to  puppet- 
shows  and  gew-gaws.  The  Theatre,  in  short,  is  the  Throne  of  the 
French  character,  where  it  is  mounted  on  its  pedestal  of  pride,  and 
seen  to  every  advantage.  I  like  to  contemplate  it  there,  for  it 
reconciles  me  to  them  and  to  myself.  It  is  a  common  and  amicable 
ground  on  which  we  meet.  Their  tears  are  such  as  others  shed — 
their  interest  in  what  happened  three  thousand  years  ago  is  not 
exclusively  French.  They  are  no  longer  a  distinct  race  or  caste,  but 
human  beings.  To  feel  towards  others  as  of  a  different  species,  is 
not  the  way  to  increase  our  respect  for  ourselves  or  human  nature. 
Their  defects  and  peculiarities,  we  may  be  almost  sure,  have  corre- 
sponding opposite  vices  in  us — the  excellences  are  confined  pretty 
much  to  what  there  is  in  common. 

The  ordinary  prejudice  entertained  on  this  subject  in  England  is, 
that  the  French  are  little  better  than  grown  children — 

'  Pleas'd  with  a  feather — tickled  with  a  straw — ' 

full  of  grimace  and  noise  and  shew,  lively  and  pert,  but  with  no  turn 
or  capacity  for  serious  thought  or  continued  attention  of  any  kind, 
and  hardly  deserving  the  name  of  rational  beings,  any  more  than  apes 
or  jack-daws.  They  may  laugh  and  talk  more  than  the  English ; 
but  they  read,  and,  I  suspect,  think  more,  taking  them  as  a  people. 
You  see  an  apple-girl  in  Paris,  sitting  at  a  stall  with  her  feet  over  a 
stove  in  the  coldest  weather,  or  defended  from  the  sun  by  an  umbrella, 
reading  Racine  or  Voltaire.  Who  ever  saw  such  a  thing  in  London 
as  a  barrow-woman  reading  Shakspeare  or  Fielding  ?  You  see  a 
handsome,  smart  grisette  at  the  back  of  every  little  shop  or  counter  in 
Paris,  if  she  is  not  at  work,  reading  perhaps  one  of  Marmontel's 
Tales,  with  all  the  absorption  and  delicate  interest  of  a  heroine  of 
romance.  Yet  we  make  doleful  complaints  of  the  want  of  education 
among  the  common  people,  and  of  the  want  of  reflection  in  the 
female  character  in  France.  There  is  something  of  the  same  turn 
for  reading  in  Scotland ;  but  then  where  is  the  gaiety  or  the  grace  ? 
They  are  more  sour  and  formal  even  than  the  English.  The  book- 
stalls all  over  Paris  present  a  very  delightful  appearance.  They 
contain  neatly-bound,  cheap,  and  portable  editions  of  all  their  standard 
authors,  which  of  itself  refutes  the  charge  of  a  want  of  the  knowledge 
or  taste  for  books.  The  French  read  with  avidity  whenever  they 
can  snatch  the  opportunity.  They  read  standing  in  the  open  air,  into 
ii8 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

which  they  are  driven  by  the  want  of  air  at  home.  They  read  in 
garrets  and  in  cellars.  They  read  at  one  end  of  a  counter,  when 
a  person  is  hammering  a  lock  or  a  piece  of  cabinet-work  at  the  other, 
without  taking  their  eye  from  the  book,  or  picking  a  quarrel  with  the 
person  who  is  making  the  noise.  Society  is  the  school  of  education  in 
France ;  there  is  a  transparency  in  their  intellects  as  in  their  atmos- 
phere, which  makes  the  communication  of  thought  or  sound  more 
rapid  and  general.  The  farina  of  knowledge  floats  in  the  air,  and 
circulates  at  random.  Alas  !  it  '  quickens,  even  with  blowing.'  A 
perriwig-maker  is  an  orator  ;  a  fish-woman  is  a  moralist ;  a  woman  of 
fashion  is  a  metaphysician,  armed  with  all  the  topics  ;  a  pretty  woman 
in  Paris,  who  was  not  also  a  Hue-stocking,  would  make  little  figure  in 
the  circles.  It  would  be  in  vain  for  her  to  know  how  to  dispose 
a  knot  of  ribands  or  a  bunch  of  flowers  in  her  hair,  unless  she  could 
arrange  a  critical  and  analytical  argument  in  all  the  forms.  It  is 
nothing  against  her,  if  she  excels  in  personal  and  mental  accomplish- 
ments at  the  same  time.  This  turn  for  literary  or  scientific  topics  in 
the  women  may  indeed  be  accounted  for  in  part  from  the  modes  of 
social  intercourse  in  France  ;  but  what  does  this  very  circumstance 
prove,  but  that  an  interchange  of  ideas  is  considered  as  one  great 
charm  in  the  society  between  men  and  women,  and  that  the  thirst  of 
knowledge  is  not  banished  by  a  grosser  passion  ?  Knowledge  and 
reason,  however,  descend ;  and  where  the  women  are  philosophers, 
the  men  are  not  quite  block-heads  or  petit-maitres.  They  are  far  from 
being  the  ignorant  smatterers  that  we  pretend.  They  are  not  back- 
ward at  asking  for  reasons,  nor  slow  in  giving  them.  They  have 
a  theory  for  every  thing,  even  for  vice  and  folly.  Their  faces  again 
are  grave  and  serious  when  they  are  by  themselves,  as  they  are  gay 
and  animated  in  society.  Their  eyes  have  a  vacant,  absent  stare  ; 
their  features  set  or  lengthen  all  at  once  into  '  the  melancholy  of 
Moorditch.'  The  Conducteur  of  the  Diligence  from  Rouen  confirmed 
me  agreeably  in  my  theory  of  the  philosophical  character  of  the 
French  physiognomy.  With  large  grey  eyes  and  drooping  eye-lids, 
prominent  distended  nostrils,  a  fine  Fenelon  expression  of  countenance, 
and  a  mouth  open  and  eloquent,  with  furrowed  lines  twisted  round  it 
like  whip-cord,  he  stood  on  the  steps  of  the  coach,  and  harangued  to  the 
gentlemen  within  on  the  betise  of  some  voyageur  Anglois  with  the  air 
of  a  professor,  and  in  a  deep  sonorous  voice,  worthy  of  an  oration  of 
Bossuet.  I  should  like  to  hear  a  Yorkshire  guard,  with  his  bluff, 
red  face,  bristly  bullet  head,  little  peering  eyes,  round  shoulders,  and 
squeaking  voice,  ascend  into  an  imaginary  rostrum  in  this  manner, 
wave  a  florid  speculation  in  one  hand,  and  hold  fast  by  the  coach-door 
with  the  other,  or  get  beyond  an  oath,  a  hearty  curse,  or  his  shrewd 

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country  gibberish  !  The  face  of  the  French  soldiery  is  a  face  of 
great  humanity — it  is  manly,  sedate,  thoughtful — it  is  equally  free 
from  fierceness  and  stupidity ;  and  it  seems  to  bear  in  its  eye  defeat 
and  victory,  the  eagle  and  the  lilies !  I  cannot  help  adding  here, 
that  a  French  gentleman  (an  Rentier)  who  lodges  in  the  hotel 
opposite  to  me,  passes  his  time  in  reading  all  the  morning,  dines,  plays 
with  his  children  after  dinner,  and  takes  a  hand  at  backgammon  with 
an  old  gouvernante  in  the  evening.  He  does  not  figure  away  with  a 
couple  of  horses  in  the  streets  like  our  English  jocieys  (who  really  are 
nothing  without  a  footman  behind  them,)  nor  does  his  wife  plague  his 
life  out  to  run  after  all  the  new  sights.  And  yet  they  are  from  the 
country.  This  looks  like  domestic  comfort  and  internal  resources. 
How  many  disciples  of  Rousseau's  Emilius  are  there  in  France  at  the 
present  day  ?     I  knew  one  twenty  years  ago. 

The  French  are  a  people  who  practise  the  arts  and  sciences 
naturally.  A  shoe-black  is  the  artiste  du  jour  (artist  of  the  day,)  and 
a  rat-catcher  approaches  you  under  some  insidious  nom  de  guerre. 
Every  thing  is  with  them  imposing,  grave,  important.  «  Except  (it 
may  be  said)  what  really  is  so ; '  and  it  may  be  insinuated,  that  all 
their  pretensions  are  equally  idly  mockery  and  grimace.  Look, 
then,  at  their  works  of  science  and  of  art — the  one  the  most  compre- 
hensive and  exact,  the  other  the  most  laborious  and  finished  in  the 
world.  What  are  their  chemists,  their  astronomers,  their  naturalists, 
their  painters,  their  sculptors  ?  If  not  the  greatest  and  most  inventive 
geniuses,  the  most  accurate  compilers,  and  the  most  severe  students  in 
their  several  departments.  La  Place,  Lavoisier,  Cuvier,  David, 
Houdon,  are  not  triflers  or  pretenders.  In  science,  if  we  have 
discovered  the  principles,  they  have  gone  more  into  the  details — in 
art  we  accuse  them  of  being  over-laboured,  and  of  finishing  too 
minutely  and  mechanically ;  and  they  charge  us  (justly  enough)  with 
a  want  oijinesse,  and  with  producing  little  more  than  rude  sketches 
and  abortive  caricatures.  Their  frigid,  anatomical  inquiries — their 
studies  after  the  antique,  and  acquaintance  with  all  the  professional 
and  scientific  branches  of  their  art,  are  notorious — and  the  care  with 
which  they  work  up  their  draperies  and  back-grounds  is  obvious  to 
every  one,  and  a  standing  subject  of  complaint  and  ridicule  to  English 
artists  and  critics.  Their  refinement  in  art,  I  confess,  consists  chiefly 
in  an  attention  to  rules  and  details,  but  then  it  does  imply  an  attention 
to  these,  which  is  contrary  to  our  idea  of  the  flighty  French  character. 
I  remember,  some  years  ago,  a  young  French  artist  in  the  Louvre, 
who  was  making  a  chalk-drawing  of  a  small  Virgin  and  Child,  by 
Leonardo  da  Vinci,  and  he  took  eleven  weeks  to  complete  it,  sitting 
with  his  legs  astride  over  a  railing,  looking  up  and  talking  to  those 

1 20 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

about  him — consulting  their  opinion  as  to  his  unwearied  imperceptible 
progress — going  to  the  iire  to  warm  his  hands,  and  returning  to 
perfectionate  himself  \  There  was  a  good  deal  of  '  laborious  foolery ' 
in  all  this,  but  still  he  kept  on  with  it,  and  did  not  fly  to  fifty  things 
one  after  the  other.  Another  student  had  undertaken  to  copy  the 
Titian's  Mistress,  and  the  method  he  took  to  do  it  was  to  parcel  out 
his  canvass  into  squares  like  an  engraver ;  after  which  he  began  very 
deliberately,  not  with  the  face  or  hair,  but  with  the  first  square  in  the 
right-hand  corner  of  the  picture,  containing  a  piece  of  an  old  table. 
He  did  not  care  where  he  began,  so  that  he  went  through  the  whole 
regularly.  C'est  egal,  is  the  common  reply  in  all  such  cases.  This 
continuity  of  purpose,  without  any  great  effort  or  deep  interest, 
surprises  an  Englishman.  We  can  do  nothing  without  a  strong  motive, 
and  without  violent  exertion.  But  it  is  this  very  circumstance 
probably  that  enables  them  to  proceed  :  they  take  the  matter  quite 
easily,  and  have  not  the  same  load  of  anxious  thought  to  bear  up 
against,  nor  the  same  impatient  eagerness  to  reach  perfection  at  a 
single  stride,  to  stop  them  midway.  They  have  not  the  English  air 
hanging  at  their  backs,  like  the  Old  Man  of  the  Sea  at  Sinbad's  ! 
The  same  freedom  from  any  thing  like  morbid  humour  assists  them  to 
plod  on  like  the  Dutch  from  mere  phlegm,  or  to  diverge  into  a  variety 
of  pursuits,  which  is  still  more  natural  to  them.  Horace  Vernet  has 
in  the  present  Exhibition  a  portrait  of  a  lady,  (a  rival  to  Sir  T. 
Lawrence's)  and  close  to  it,  a  battle-piece,  equal  to  Ward  or  Cooper. 
Who  would  not  be  a  Parisian  born,  to  attain  excellence  with  the 
wish  to  succeed  from  mere  confidence  or  indifference  to  success,  to 
unite  such  a  number  of  accomplishments,  or  be  equally  satisfied 
without  a  single  one  ! 

The  English  are  over-hasty  in  supposing  a  certain  lightness  and 
petulance  of  manner  in  the  French  to  be  incompatible  with  sterling 
thought  or  steady  application,  and  flatter  themselves  that  not  to  be 
merry  is  to  be  wise.  A  French  lady  who  had  married  an  English- 
man remarkable  for  his  dullness,  used  to  apologise  for  his  silence  in 
company  by  incessantly  repeating  '  C'est  toujours  Locke,  toujours 
Newton,'  as  if  these  were  the  subjects  that  occupied  his  thoughts. 
It  is  well  we  have  these  names  to  appeal  to  in  all  cases  of  emergency ; 
and  as  far  as  mere  gravity  is  concerned,  let  these  celebrated  persons 
have  been  as  wise  as  they  would,  they  could  not  for  the  life  of  them 
have  appeared  duller  or  more  stupid  than  the  generality  of  their 
countrymen.  The  chief  advantage  I  can  find  in  the  English  over 
the  French  comes  to  this,  that  though  slower,  if  they  once  take  a 
thing  up,  they  are  longer  in  laying  it  down,  provided  it  is  a  grievance 
or  a  sore  subject.     The  reason  is,  that  the  French  do  not  delight  in 

IZI 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

grievances  or  in  sore  subjects  ;  and  that  the  English  delight  in  nothing 
else,  and  battle  their  way  through  them  most  manfully.  Their  forte  is 
the  disagreeable  and  repulsive.  I  think  they  would  have  fought  the 
battle  of  Waterloo  over  again  !  The  English,  besides  being  '  good 
haters,'  are  dogged  and  downright,  and  have  no  salvos  for  their 
self-love.  Their  vanity  does  not  heal  the  wounds  made  in  their 
pride.  The  French,  on  the  contrary,  are  soon  reconciled  to  fate,  and 
so  enamoured  of  their  own  idea,  that  nothing  can  put  them  out  of 
conceit  with  it.  Whatever  their  attachment  to  their  country,  to 
liberty  or  glory,  they  are  not  so  affected  by  the  loss  of  these  as  to 
make  any  desperate  effort  or  sacrifice  to  recover  them.  Their 
continuity  of  feeling  is  such,  as  to  be  no  enemy  to  a  whole  skin. 
They  over-ran  Europe  like  tigers,  and  defended  their  own  territory  like 
deer.     They  are  a  nation  of  heroes — on  this  side  of  martyrdom  ! 


CHAPTER  VI 

DIALOGUE,    FRENCH    AND    ENGLISH 

French. — Have  you  seen  the  whole  of  our  Exposition  of  the  present 
year  ? — 

English.^No,  but  I  have  looked  over  a  good  part  of  it.  I  have 
been  much  pleased  with  many  of  the  pictures.  As  far  as  I  can  judge, 
or  have  a  right  to  say  so,  I  think  your  artists  have  improved  within 
these  few  years. 

French. — -Perhaps  so,  occasionally,  but  we  have  not  David  and 
some  others. 

English. — I  cannot  say  that  I  miss  him  much.  He  had,  I  dare 
say,  many  excellences,  but  his  faults  were  still  more  glaring,  accord- 
ing to  our  insular  notions  of  the  art.  Have  you  Guerin  now  ?  He 
had  just  brought  out  his  first  picture  of  Phaedra  and  Hippolitus  when 
I  was  in  Paris  formerly.  It  made  a  prodigious  sensation  at  the  time, 
and  very  great  things  were  expected  from  him. 

French No,  his  works  are  not  much  spoken  of. 

English. — The  Hippolitus  in  the  picture  I  speak  of  was  very 
beautiful ;  but  the  whole  appeared  too  much  cast  in  the  mould  of  the 
antique,  and  it  struck  me  then  that  there  was  a  mannerism  about 
it  that  did  not  augur  favourably  for  his  future  progress,  but  denoted 
a  premature  perfection.  What  I  like  in  your  present  Exhibition  is, 
that  you  seem  in  a  great  measure  to  have  left  this  academic  manner, 
and  to  have  adopted  a  more  natural  style. 

122 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

French. — I  do  not  exactly  comprehend. 

English Why,  you  know  the  English  complain  of  French  art  as 

too  laboured  and  mechanical,  as  not  allowing  scope  enough  for  genius 
and  originality,  as  you  retort  upon  us  for  being  coarse  and  rustic. 

French. — Ah !  I  understand.  There  is  a  picture  in  the  English 
style  ;  the  subject  is  a  Greek  massacre,  by  Rouget.  It  is  an  elauche. 
It  is  for  effect.  There  is  much  spirit  in  the  expression,  and  a  bold- 
ness of  execution,  but  every  part  is  not  finished.  It  is  like  a  first 
sketch,  or  like  the  painting  of  the  scenes  at  our  theatres.  He  has 
another  picture  here. 

English. — Yes,  of  great  merit  in  the  same  style  of  dashing,  off- 
hand, explosive  effect.  He  is  something  between  our  Ward  and 
Haydon.  But  that  is  not  what  I  mean.  I  do  not  wish  you  to 
exchange  your  vices  for  ours.  We  are  not  as  yet  models  in  the  Fine 
Arts.  I  am  only  glad  that  you  imitate  us,  as  it  is  a  sign  you  begin 
to  feel  a  certain  deficiency  in  yourselves.  There  is  no  necessity  for 
grossness  and  extravagance,  any  more  than  for  being  finical  or 
pedantic.  Now  there  is  a  picture  yonder,  which  I  think  has  broken 
through  the  trammels  of  the  modern  French  school,  without  forfeit- 
ing its  just  pretensions  to  classical  history.  It  has  the  name  of 
Drolling  on  it.     What,  pray,  is  the  subject  of  it  ? 

French. — It  is  Ulysses  conducting  Polyxena  to  the  sacrifice.  He  has 
one  much  better  at  the  Luxembourg. 

English. — I  don't  know ;  I  have  not  seen  that,  but  this  picture 
appears  to  me  to  be  a  very  favourable  specimen  of  the  present  French 
school.  It  has  great  force,  considerable  beauty,  symmetry  of  form, 
and  expression ;  and  it  is  animated  flesh,  not  coloured  stone.  The 
action  and  gestures  into  which  the  figures  throw  themselves,  seem  the 
result  of  life  and  feeling,  and  not  of  putting  casts  after  the  antique  into 
Opera  attitudes, 

French. — We  do  not  think  much  of  that  picture.  It  has  not  been 
perfected. 

English. — Perhaps  it  passes  a  certain  conventional  limit,  and  is 
borne  away  by  the  impulse  of  the  subject;  and  of* that  the  most 
eminent  among  the  French  artists  might  be  thought  to  be  as  much 
afraid  as  the  old  lady  at  Court  was  that  her  face  would  fall  in  pieces, 
if  her  features  relaxed  into  a  smile.  The  Ulysses  is  poor  and  stiff: 
the  nurse  might  be  finer  ;  but  I  like  the  faces  of  the  two  foremost 
figures  much ;  they  are  handsome,  interesting,  and  the  whole  female 
group  is  alive  and  in  motion. 

French. — What  do  you  think  of  the  picture  by  Gerard,  No.  745, 
of  the  Meeting  bet-ween  Louis  XIV.  and  the  Spanish  Ambassador  ?  It 
is  greatly  admired  here. 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

English. — It  appeared  to  me  (as  I  passed  it  just  now)  to  be  a 
picture  of  great  bustle  and  spirit ;  and  it  looks  as  if  Iris  had  dipped 
her  woof  in  it,  the  dresses  are  so  gay  and  fine.  Really,  the  show  of 
variegated  colours  in  the  principal  group  is  like  a  bed  of  tulips. 
That  is  certainly  a  capitally  painted  head  of  a  priest  stooping  forward 
in  a  red  cap  and  mantle. 

French. — And  the  youth  near  him  no  less. 

English. — The  complexion  has  too  much  the  texture  of  fruit. 

French. — But  for  the  composition — the  contrast  between  youth 
and  age  is  so  justly  marked.  Are  you  not  struck  with  the  figure  of 
the  Spanish  Ambassador  ?  His  black  silk  drapery  is  quite  in  the 
Italian  style. 

English. — I  thought  Gerard  had  been  chiefly  admired  for  a  certain 
delicacy  of  expression,  more  than  for  his  colouring  or  costume.  He 
was  a  favourite  painter  of  the  Empress  Josephine. 

French. — But  in  the  present  subject  there  is  not  much  scope  for 
expression. 

English. — It  is  very  true ;  but  in  a  picture  of  the  same  crowded 
and  courtly  character  {The  last  Moments  of  Henry  IV.,)  the  painter 
has  contrived  to  introduce  a  great  deal  of  beauty  and  tenderness  of 
expression  in  the  appearance  of  some  of  the  youthful  attendants. 
This  is  a  more  shewy  and  finely  painted  drawing-room  picture ;  but 
that  appears  to  me  to  have  more  character  in  it.  It  has  also  the  merit 
of  being  finished  with  great  care.  I  think  the  French  excel  in  small 
histories  of  the  domestic  or  ornamental  kind.  Here,  for  instance,  is 
a  very  pretty  picture  by  Madame  Hersent,  897,  Louis  XIV.  taking 
leave  of  his  Grand-child.  It  is  well  painted,  the  dresses  are  rich  and 
correct — the  monarch  has  a  great  deal  of  negligent  dignity  mixed 
with  the  feebleness  of  age,  the  contrast  of  innocence  and  freshness  in 
the  child  is  well-managed,  and  the  attendants  are  decayed  beauties 
and  very  confidential-looking  persons  of  that  period.  One  great 
charm  of  all  historical  subjects  is,  to  carry  us  back  to  the  scene  and 
time,  which  this  picture  does.  Probably  from  the  Age  and  Court  of 
Louis  XVIII.  to  that  of  Louis  xiv.  it  is  not  far  for  a  French  imagination 
to  transport  itself. 

French. — Monsieur,  it  is  so  far  that  we  should  never  have  got 
from  the  one  to  the  other,  if  you  had  not  helped  us. 

English — So  much  the  worse  !  But  do  you  not  think  that  a  clever 
picture  of  the  Interior  of  a  Gothic  Ruin,  247,  (Bouton.^)  It  seems 
to  me  as  if  the  artist  had  been  reading  Sir  Walter  Scott.  That 
lofty,  ruinous  cave  looks  out  on  the  wintry  sea  from  one  of  the 
Shetland  Isles.  There  is  a  cold,  desolate  look  of  horror  pervading  it 
'  Inventor  of  the  Diorama, 

124 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

to  the  utmost  extremity.  But  the  finishing  is,  perhaps,  somewhat  too 
exact  for  so  wild  a  scene.  Has  not  the  snow,  lodged  on  the  broken 
ledges  of  the  rocks,  a  little  of  the  appearance  of  the  coat  of  candied 
sugar  on  a  twelfth-cake  ?  But  how  comes  the  dog  in  possession  of 
so  smart  a  kennel  ?  It  is  said  in  the  Catalogue,  that  by  his  barking 
he  alarms  his  master,  who  saves  the  poor  woman  and  her  infant  from 
perishing.  Who  would  have  thought  that  such  a  scene  as  this  had 
a  master  ? 

French. — Dogs  are  necessary  everywhere  in  France :  there  is  no 
place  that  we  can  keep  them  out  of.  They  are  like  the  machines  in 
ancient  poetry — a  part  of  every  plot.  Poodles  are  the  true  desires  : 
they  have  ousted  even  the  priests.  They  may  soon  set  up  a 
hierarchy  of  their  own.  They  swarm,  and  are  as  filthy  as  an 
Egyptian  religion. 

English. — But  this  is  a  house-dog,  not  a  lap-dog. 

French. — There  is  no  saying — but  pass  on.  Is  there  any  other 
picture  that  you  like  ? 

English. — Yes,  I  am  much  pleased  with  the  one  opposite,  the 
Marriage  of  the  Virgin,  268,  by  Mons.  Caminade.  It  is  both 
elegant  and  natural.  The  Virgin  kneels  in  a  simple  and  expressive 
attitude  ;  in  the  children  there  is  a  playful  and  healthy  aspect,  and 
the  grouping  is  quite  like  a  classic  bas-relief.  Perhaps,  in  this  respect, 
it  wants  depth.  Can  you  tell  me,  why  French  painting  so  much 
aiFects  the  qualities  of  sculpture  in  general, — flatness  and  formality  in 
the  groups,  and  hardness  of  outline  in  the  single  figures  ? 

French. —  I  cannot  answer  that  question,  as  it  is  some  time  since 
I  left  England,  where  I  remained  only  ten  months  to  perfect  myself 
in  the  language.  You  probably  think  more  highly  of  the  next 
picture  :   The  Establishment  of  the  Enfans  Trowoes,  by  M ? 

English. — I  am  afraid  not ;  for  it  has  the  old  French  flimsiness 
and  flutter.  The  face  of  the  Foundress  resembles  a  shower  of 
roseate  tints.  You  may  be  sure,  however,  that  the  English  in 
general  will  approve  mightily  of  it,  who  like  all  subjects  of  charitable 
institutions.  I  heard  an  English  lady  just  now  in  raptures  with  the 
naked  children  seated  on  the  blankets,  calling  them  affectionately, 
'  poor  little  dears  !  '  We  like  subjects  of  want,  because  they  afford 
a  relief  to  our  own  sense  of  comfortlessness,  and  subjects  of 
benevolence,  because  they  soothe  our  sense  of  self-importance — a 
feeling  of  which  we  stand  greatly  in  need. 

French. — What  is  your  opinion  of  the  portrait  of  Louis  xviii.,  by 
Gerard  ? 

English. — It  seems  to  have  been  painted  after  dinner,  and  as  if  his 
Majesty  was  uneasy  in  his  seat — the  boots  might  have  been  spared. 

125 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

French. — We  have  a  picture  by  one  of  your  compatriots — the 
Chevalier  Lawrence — 

English. — Yes,  the  portrait  of  a  Lady,  in  the  next  room.  It  was 
accounted  one  of  the  best  portraits  in  our  Somerset-house  Exhibition 
last  summer. 

French. — But  there  is  a  portrait  of  a  French  Lady,  placed  as  a 
companion  to  it,  by  Horace  Vernet,  which  is  thought  better. 

English. — I  have  no  doubt.  But  I  believe,  in  England,  the 
preference  would  be  given  the  contrary  way. 

French. — May  I  ask  on  what  ground.  Sir  ? 

English. — Let  me  ask,  did  you  ever  happen  to  sit  to  have  a  cast  of 
your  head  taken  ?  Because  I  conceive  that  precisely  the  same  heated, 
smooth,  oily,  close,  stifling  feeling  that  one's  face  has  just  before 
the  mask  is  taken  off,  is  that  which  is  conveyed  by  the  texture  and 
look  of  a  finished  French  portrait,  generally  speaking,  and  by  this  in 
particular.  I  like  the  Head  of  a  Lady,  by  Guerin  (838),  on  the 
opposite  side  of  the  room,  better.  It  is  clear,  cold,  blue  and  white, 
with  an  airy  attitude,  and  firm  drawing.  There  is  no  attempt  to 
smother  one  with  dingy  flesh  rouged  over. 

French. — But  have  you  seen  our  miniatures  ?  The  English 
miniatures,  I  imagine,  are  not  good. 

English.^ — At  least,  we  have  a  good  many  of  them.  I  know  an 
English  critic,  who  would  at  least  count  you  up  thirty  eminent 
English  miniature-painters  at  a  breath, — all  first-rate  geniuses  ;  so 
differently  do  we  view  these  things  on  different  sides  of  the  Channel ! 
In  truth,  all  miniatures  must  be  much  alike.  There  can  be  no  such 
thing  as  an  English  miniature,  that  is,  as  a  coarse,  slovenly  daub  in 
little.  We  finish  when  we  cannot  help  it.  We  do  not  volunteer  a 
host  of  graces,  like  you ;  but  we  can  make  a  virtue  of  necessity. 
There  was  a  Mr.  Hayter,  who  painted  resplendent  miniatures, 
perfect  mirrors  of  the  highest  heaven  of  beauty  ;  but  he  preferred  the 
English  liberty  of  sign-post  painting  in  oil.  I  observe  among  your 
miniatures  several  enamels  and  copies  from  the  Old  Masters  in  the 
Louvre.  Has  not  the  coming  to  them  the  effect  of  looking  through 
a  window  ?  What  a  breadth,  what  a  clearness,  what  a  solidity  ? 
How  do  you  account  for  this  superiority  ?  I  do  not  say  this 
invidiously,  for  I  confess  it  is  the  same,  whenever  copies  are 
introduced  by  stealth  in  our  English  Exhibition. 

French. — I  perceive.  Sir,  you  have  a  prejudice  in  favour  of  the 
English  style  of  art. 

English. — None  at  all ;  but  I  cannot  think  our  faults  any  justifica- 
tion of  yours,  or  yours  of  ours.  For  instance,  here  is  a  landscape  by 
a  countryman  of  mine,  Mr.  Constable  (No.   358).     Why  then  all 

126 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

this  affectation  of  dashing  lights  and  broken  tints  and  straggling  lumps 
of  paint,  which  I  dare  say  give  the  horrors  to  a  consummate  French 
artist?  On  the  other  hand,  why  do  not  your  artists  try  to  give 
something  of  the  same  green,  fresh,  and  healthy  look  of  living  nature, 
without  smearing  coats  of  varnish  over  raw  dabs  of  colour  (as  we 
do),  tUl  the  composition  resembles  the  ice  breaking  up  in  marshy 
ground  after  a  frosty  morning  ?  Depend  upon  it,  in  disputes  about 
taste,  as  in  other  quarrels,  there  are  faults  on  both  sides. 
French. — The  English  style  has  effect,  but  it  is  gross. 
English. — True  :  yet  in  the  inner  rooms  there  are  some  water- 
colour  landscapes,  by  Copley  Fielding,  which  strike  me  as  uniting 
effect  with  delicacy,  particularly  No.  360,  with  some  beautiful  trees 
fringing  the  fore-ground.  I  think  our  painters  do  best  when  they 
are  cramped  in  the  vehicle  they  employ.  They  are  abusers  of  oil- 
colours. 

French. — I  recollect  the  name ;  but  his  works  did  not  seem  to 
me  to  be  finished. 

English. — They  are  finished  as  nature  is  finished :  that  is,  the 
details  are  to  be  found  in  them,  though  they  do  not  obtrude  them- 
selves. You  French  require  every  thing  to  be  made  out  like  pin's 
points  or  botanic  specimens  of  leaves  and  trees.  Your  histories  want 
life,  and  your  landscapes  air.  I  could  have  sworn  the  little  fishing- 
piece  (No. — )  was  English.  It  is  such  a  daub,  and  yet  has  such  a 
feeling  of  out-of-door  scenery  in  it. 

French. — You  do  not  flatter  us.  But  you  allow  our  excellence  in 
sculpture. 

English. — There  is  an  admirable  study  of  a  little  girl  going  into  a 
bath,  by  Jacquot.  It  is  so  simple,  true,  and  expressive,  I  thought  it 
might  be  Chantry's.  I  cannot  say  I  saw  any  others  that  pleased  me. 
The  Eurydice,  by  Nantreuil,  is  a  French  Eurydice.  It  is  an  elegantly- 
formed  female,  affecting  trifling  airs  and  graces  in  the  agonies  of 
death.  Suppose  we  return  to  the  pictures  in  the  Green  Room. 
There  is  nothing  very  remarkable  here,  except  the  portrait  of  an 
artist  by  himself,  which  looks  for  all  the  world  as  if  it  fed  upon  its 
own  white  lead. 

French. — Do  you  like  that  figure  of  a  woman  in  one  corner  in  the 
Massacre  of  the  Innocents  \  The  artist  has  done  all  he  could  to 
propitiate  the  English  taste.  He  has  left  his  work  in  a  sufficiently 
barbarous  and  unfinished  state. 

English. — But  he  has  taken  pains  to  throw  expression,  originality, 
and  breadth  into  it.  With  us  it  would  be  considered  as  a  work  of 
genius.  I  prefer  it  much  to  any  thing  by  our  artists  of  the  same 
kind,  both  for  the  tone,  the  wild  lofty  character,  and  the  unctuous 

127 


NOTES  OF  A  JOURNEY 

freedom  of  the  pencilling.  There  is  a  strange  hurly-burly  in  the 
background,  and  a  lurid  tone  over  the  whole  picture.  This  is  what 
we  mean  by  imagination — giving  the  feeling  that  there  is  in  nature. 
You  mean  by  imagination  the  giving  something  out  of  it — such  as  the 
Nymph  (No.  — )  appearing  to  the  River  God.  The  young  lady  is 
a  very  charming  transparency,  or  gauze-drawing ;  and  the  River  God 
is  a  sturdy  wooden  statue,  painted  over ;  but  I  would  ask  you,  is 
there  any  thing  in  the  picture  that  takes  you  beyond  a  milliner's  shop 
in  the  Palais-royal,  or  a  tea-garden  in  the  neighbourhood  of  St. 
Cloud  ?  The  subject  of  Locusta  poisoning  a  young  sla-ue,  by  Figalon, 
is,  I  think,  forcibly  and  well  treated.  The  old  sorceress  is  not  an 
every  day  person.  The  French  too  seldom  resort  to  the  grace  of 
Deformity.  Yet  how  finely  it  tells !  They  are  more  timid  and 
fastidious  than  the  ancients,  whom  they  profess  to  imitate.  There 
is  one  other  large  historical  composition  in  the  room  which  I  am 
partial  to ;  and  yet  the  faces,  the  manners,  the  colouring,  every  thing 
in  it  is  French.  It  is  the  Henry  the  Fourth  pardoning  the  peasants 
•who  have  supplied  the  besieged  in  Paris  ivith  food.  That  head  of  a 
young  woman  near  the  middle  is  particularly  fine,  and  in  the  happiest 
style  of  French  art.  Its  effect  against  the  sky  is  picturesque;  it 
is  handsome,  graceful,  sensitive,  and  tinged  with  an  agreeable 
florid  hue. 

French. — But  what  is  your  opinion  of  Horace  Vernet's  Battle- 
piece  ? 

English. — May  I  ask  the  subject  ? 

French. — It  is  the  battle  of  Mont-Mirail,  after  the  return  from 
Russia. 

English. — Good :  I  was  sadly  afraid  it  was  the  Battle  of  Mont 
St.  Jean.  We  ought  to  blot  it  forever  from  our  history,  if  we  have 
been,  or  intend  to  be,  free.  But  I  did  not  know  but  some  Frenchman 
might  be  found  to  stain  his  canvass  with  it,  and  present  it  to  M.  le 
Vicomte  Chateaubriand. 

French. — But  I  speak  of  the  painting.  Sir. 

English. — It  is  something  in  the  same  style,  but  hardly  so  clever 
as  the  picture  of  the  Queen's  Trial,  by  Hayter.  Did  you  see  that 
when  you  were  in  London  ? 

French. — No,  Sir. 

English. — Then  we  cannot  enter  into  the  comparison. 

French. — That  is  true. 

English. — We  never  had  a  school  of  painting  till  the  present  day. 
Whether  we  have  one  at  present,  will  be  seen  in  the  course  of  the 
winter.  Yours  flourished  one  hundred  and  fifty  years  ago.  For, 
not  to  include  Nicholas  Poussin  and  Claude  Lorraine  in  it,  (names 

128 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

that  belong  to  time  and  nature,)  there  were  Philip  Champagne, 
Jouvenet,  Le  Sueur,  whose  works  are  surely  unequalled  by  the 
present  race  of  artists,  in  colouring,  in  conception  of  the  subject,  in 
the  imitation  of  nature,  and  in  picturesque  effect.  As  a  proof  of  it, 
they  become  their  places,  and  look  well  in  the  Louvre.  A  picture 
of  David's  would  be  an  eye-sore  there.  You  are  familiar  with 
their  works  ? 

French. — I  have  seen  those  masters,  but  there  is  an  objection  to 
passing  into  that  part  of  the  Louvre. 

English. — The  air  is,  I  own,  different. 


CHAPTER   VII 

THE     LUXEMBOURG    GALLERY 

Racine's  poetry,  and  Shakspeare's,  however  wide  apart,  do  not 
absolutely  prove  that  the  French  and  English  are  a  distinct  race  of 
beings,  who  can  never  properly  understand  one  another.  But  the 
Luxembourg  Gallery,  I  think,  settles  this  point  forever — not  in  our 
favour,  for  we  have  nothing  (thank  God)  to  oppose  to  it,  but 
decidedly  against  them,  as  a  people  incapable  of  any  thing  but  the 
little,  the  affected,  and  extravagant  in  works  of  imagination  and 
the  Fine  Arts.  Poetry  is  but  the  language  of  feeling,  and  we  may 
convey  the  same  meaning  in  a  different  form  of  words.  But  in  the 
language  of  painting,  words  become  things ;  and  we  cannot  be  mis- 
taken in  the  character  of  a  nation,  that,  in  thus  expressing  themselves, 
uniformly  leave  out  certain  elements  of  feeling,  and  greedily  and 
ostentatiously  insert  others  that  they  should  not.  The  English  have 
properly  no  school  of  art,  (though  they  have  one  painter  at  least  equal 
to  Moli^re,) — we  have  here  either  done  nothing  worth  speaking  of, 
compared  with  our  progress  in  other  things,  or  our  faults  are  those  of 
negligence  and  rusticity.  But  the  French  have  done  their  utmost 
to  attain  perfection,  and  they  boast  of  having  attained  it.  What  they 
have  done  is,  therefore,  a  fair  specimen  of  what  they  can  do.  Their 
works  contain  undoubted  proofs  of  labour,  learning,  power ;  yet  they 
are  only  the  worse  for  all  these,  since,  without  a  thorough  knowledge 
of  the  scientific  and  mechanical  part  of  their  profession,  as  well  as 
profound  study,  they  never  could  have  immortalized  their  want  of 
taste  and  genius  in  the  manner  they  have  done.  Their  pictures  at 
the  Luxembourg  are  '  those  faultless  monsters  which  the  art  ne'er 
saw '  till  now — the  '  hand-writing  on  the  wall,'  which  nothing  can 
VOL.  IX.  :  I  129 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

reverse.  It  has  been  said,  that  '  Vice  to  be  hated  needs  but  to  be 
seen,'  and  the  same  rule  holds  good  in  natural  as  in  moral  deformity. 
It  is  a  pity  that  some  kind  hand  does  not  take  an  opportunity  of 
giving  to  ashes  this  monument  of  their  glory  and  their  shame,  but 
that  it  is  important  to  preserve  the  proofs  of  such  an  anomaly  in  the 
history  of  the  human  mind  as  a  generation  of  artists  painting  in  this 
manner,  and  looking  down  upon  the  rest  of  the  world  as  not  even 
able  to  appreciate  their  paramount  superiority  in  refinement  and 
elegance.  It  is  true,  strangers  know  not  what  to  make  of  them. 
The  ignorant  look  at  them  with  wonder — the  more  judicious,  with 
pain  and  astonishment  at  the  perversion  of  talents  and  industry. 
Still,  they  themselves  go  on,  quoting  one  another's  works,  and 
parcelling  out  the  excellences  of  the  several  pictures  under  different 
heads — pour  les  colons,  pour  le  dessein,  pour  la  composition,  pour  l' expres- 
sion, as  if  all  the  world  were  of  accord  on  this  subject,  and  Raphael 
had  never  been  heard  of.  It  is  enough  to  stagger  a  nation,  as  well  as 
an  individual,  in  their  admiration  of  their  own  accomplishments,  when 
they  find  they  have  it  all  to  themselves ;  but  the  French  are  blind, 
insensible,  incorrigible  to  the  least  hint  of  any  thing  like  imperfection 
or  absurdity.  It  is  this  want  of  self-knowledge,  and  incapacity  to 
conceive  of  any  thing  beyond  a  certain  conventional  circle,  that  is 
the  original  sin — the  incurable  error  of  all  their  works  of  imagination. 
If  Nature  were  a  French  courtezan  or  Opera-dancer,  their  poetry 
and  painting  would  be  the  finest  in  the  world. ^ 

The  fault,  then,  that  I  should  find  with  this  Collection  of  Pictures 
is,  that  it  is  equally  defective  in  the  imitation  of  nature,  which  belongs 
to  painting  in  general ;  or  in  giving  the  soul  of  nature — expression, 
which  belongs  more  particularly  to  history-painting.  Their  style  of 
art  is  false  from  beginning  to  end,  nor  is  it  redeemed  even  by  the 
vices  of  genius,  originality,  and  splendour  of  appearance.  It  is  at 
once  tame  and  extravagant,  laboured  and  without  effect,  repulsive  to 
the  senses  and  cold  to  the  heart.  Nor  can  it  well  be  otherwise.  It 
sets  out  on  a  wrong  principle,  and  the  farther  it  goes,  nay,  the  more 
completely  it  succeeds  in  what  it  undertakes,  the  more  inanimate, 
abortive,  and  unsatisfactory  must  be  the  performance.  French  paint- 
ing, in  a  word,  is  not  to  be  considered  as  an  independent  art,  or 
original  language,  coming  immediately  from  nature,  and  appealing  to 
it — it   is   a  bad  translation  of  sculpture   into   a  language  essentially 

'  It  is  the  same  idle,  inveterate  self-complacency,  the  same  limited  compre- 
hension, that  has  been  their  ruin  in  every  thing.  Parisian  exquisites  could  not 
conceive  that  it  snowed  in  Russia,  nor  how  it  was  possible  for  barbarians  to 
bi'uouac  in  the  Champs  Elysees.  But  they  have  forgotten  the  circumstance 
altogether.  Why  should  I  remind  them  of  it  ? 
T30 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

incompatible  with  it.  The  French  artists  take  plaster-casts  from 
the  antique,  and  colour  them  by  a  receipt ;  they  take  plaster-casts  and 
put  them  into  action,  and  give  expression  to  the  features  according  to 
the  traditional  rules  for  composition  and  expression.  This  is  the 
invariable  process :  we  see  the  infallible  results,  which  differ  only 
according  to  the  patience,  the  boldness,  and  ingenuity  of  the  painter 
in  departing  from  nature,  and  caricaturing  his  subject. 

For  instance,  let  us  take  the  Endymion  of  Girodet,  No  57.  It  is 
a  well-drawn,  though  somewhat  effeminate  Academy-figure.  All 
the  rest  is  what  I  have  said.  It  is  a  waste  of  labour,  an  abuse  of 
power.  There  is  no  repose  in  the  attitude ;  but  the  body,  instead 
of  being  dissolved  in  an  immortal  sleep,  seems  half  lifted  up,  so  as  to 
produce  a  balance  of  form,  and  to  make  a  display  of  the  symmetry 
of  the  proportions.  Vanity  here  presides  even  over  sleep.  The  head 
is  turned  on  one  side  as  if  it  had  not  belonged  to  the  body  (which  it 
probably  did  not)  and  discovers  a  meagre,  insignificant  profile,  hard 
and  pinched  up,  without  any  of  the  genial  glow  of  youth,  or  the  calm, 
delighted  expansion  of  the  heavenly  dream  that  hovered  so  long  over 
it.  The  sharp  edges  of  the  features,  like  rims  of  tin,  catch  the  moon- 
light, but  do  not  reflect  the  benign  aspect  of  the  Goddess  !  There  is 
no  feeling  (not  a  particle)  of  the  poetry  of  the  subject.  Then  the 
colouring  is  not  natural,  is  not  beautiful,  is  not  delicate,  but  that  of  a 
livid  body,  glittering  in  the  moon-beams,  or  with  a  cloud  of  steel- 
filings,  glimmering  round  it  for  a  veil  of  light.  It  is  not  left  as  dead- 
colouring  in  an  evidently  unfinished  state,  or  so  as  to  make  a  blank  for 
the  imagination  to  fill  up  (as  we  see  in  Fuseli's  pictures)  ;  but  every 
part  is  worked  up  with  malicious  industry,  not  to  represent  flesh,  but 
to  be  as  like  marble  or  polished  steel  as  possible.  There  is  no  variety 
of  tint,  no  reflected  light,  no  massing,  but  merely  the  difference  that 
is  produced  in  a  smooth  and  uniformly  coloured  surface,  by  the  altera- 
tions proper  to  sculpture,  which  are  given  with  a  painful  and  oppressive 
sense  of  effort  and  of  difficulty  overcome. 

This  is  not  a  natural  style.  It  is  foppish  and  mechanical ;  or  just 
what  might  be  expected  from  taking  a  piece  of  stone  and  attempting 
to  colour  it,  not  from  nature,  not  from  imagination  or  feeling,  but 
from  a  mere  wilful  determination  to  supply  the  impressions  of  one 
sense  from  those  of  another,  by  dint  of  perseverance  and  a  growing 
conceit  of  one's-self.  There  is,  indeed,  a  progress  to  perfection  ; 
for  by  the  time  the  work  is  finished,  it  is  a  finished  piece  of  arrogance 
and  folly.  If  you  are  copying  a  yellow  colour,  and  you  resolve  to 
make  it  blue,  the  more  blue  you  make  it,  the  more  perfectly  you 
succeed  in  your  purpose ;  but  it  is  the  less  like  yellow.  So  the 
more  perfectly  French  a  work  of  art  is,  the  less  it  is  like  nature ! 

131 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

The  French  artists   have   imitated   the   presumption  of  the  tyrant 
Mezentius,  who  wished  to  link  dead  bodies  to  living  ones. — Again, 
in  the  same  artist's  picture  oi  Atala  at  the  Tomb  (which  I  think  his 
best,  and  which  would  make  a  fine  bas-relief  i)  the  outline  of  the 
countenance  of  Atala  is  really  noble,  with  a  beautiful  expression  of 
calm  resignation ;   and  the  only  fault  to  be  found  with  it  is,  that, 
supported  as  the  head  is  in  the  arms  of  the  Priest,  it  has  too  much 
the  look  of  a  bust  after  the  antique,  that  we  see  carried  about  the 
streets  by  the  Italian  plaster-cast-makers.     Otherwise,  it  is  a  classical 
and  felicitous  stroke  of  French  genius.    They  do  well  to  paint  Sleep, 
Death,  Night,  or  to  approach  as  near  as  they  can  to  the  verge  of 
still-life,  and  leaden-eyed  obscurity !      But  what,  I  believe,  is  regarded 
as  the  master-piece  of  this  artist,  and  what  I  have  no  objection  to 
consider  as  the  triumph  of  French  sublimity  and  pathos,  is  his  picture 
of  the  Deluge,  No.  55.     The  national  talent  has  here  broken  loose 
from  the  trammels  of  refinement  and  pedantry,  and  soars  unconstrained 
to  its  native  regions  of  extravagance  and  bombast.     The  English  are 
willing  to  abide  by  this  as  a  test.      If  there  be  in  the  whole  of  this 
gigantic  picture  of  a  gigantic  subject  any  thing  but  distortion,  mean- 
ness, extreme  absurdity  and  brute  force,  we  are  altogether  mistaken 
in  our  notions  of  the  matter.     Was  it  not  enough  to  place  that  huge, 
unsightly  skeleton  of  old  age  upon  the  shoulders  of  the  son,  who  is 
climbing  a  tottering,  overhanging  precipice,  but  the  farce  of  imposture 
and  improbability  must  be  systematically  kept  up  by  having  the  wife 
clinging  to  him  in  all  the  agony  of  the  most  preposterous  theatrical 
affectation,  and  then  the  two  children  dangling  to  her  like  xhc  fag-end 
of  horror,  and  completing  the  chain  of  disgusting,  because  impractic- 
able and  monstrous  distress  ?      Quod  sic  mihi  ostendis,  incredulus  odi. 
The  principle  of  gravitation  must  be  at  an  end,  to  make  this  picture 
endurable  for   a  moment.      All   the   effect  depends  on  the  fear  of 
falling,  and  yet  the  figures  could  not  remain  suspended  where  they 
are  for  a  single  instant  (but  must  be  flung  '  with  hideous  ruin  and 
combustion  down,' )  if  they  were  any  thing  else  but  grisly  phantoms. 
The  terror  is  at  once  physical  and  preternatural.     Instead  of  death- 
like stillness  or  desperate  fortitude,  preparing  for  inevitable  fate,  or 
hurrying  from  it  with  panic-fear  at  some  uncertain  opening,  they  have 
set   themselves  in   a   picturesque   situation,   to    meet   it  under   every 
disadvantage,  playing  off  their  antics   like   a  family  of  tumblers  at 
a  fair,  and  exhibiting  the  horrid  grimaces,  the  vulgar  rage,  cowardice, 
and  impatience  of  the  most  wretched  actors  on  a  stage.     The  painter 
has,  no  doubt,  '  accumulated  horror  on  horror's  head,'  in  straining 

'  French   pictures,  to    be    thoroughly   and   unexceptionably   good,  ought  to  be 
/ra«j/attrfback  again  into  sculpture,  from  which  they  are  originally  taken. 
132 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

the  credulity  or  harrowing  up  the  feelings  of  the  spectator  to  the 
utmost,  and  proving  his  want  of  conception  no  less  by  the  exaggera- 
tion, than  his  want  of  invention  by  the  monotony  of  his  design.  Real 
strength  knows  where  to  stop,  because  it  is  founded  on  truth  and 
nature ;  but  extravagance  and  affectation  have  no  bounds.  They 
rush  into  the  vacuum  of  thought  and  feeling,  and  commit  every  sort 
of  outrage  and  excess,^  Neither  in  the  landscape  is  there  a  more 
historic  conception  than  in  the  actors  on  the  scene.  There  is  none 
of  the  keeping  or  unity  that  so  remarkably  characterizes  Poussin's 
fine  picture  of  the  same  subject,  nor  the  sense  of  sullen,  gradually 
coming  fate.  The  waters  do  not  rise  slowly  and  heavily  to  the  tops 
of  the  highest  peaks,  but  dash  tumultuously  and  violently  down  rocks 
and  precipices.  This  is  not  the  truth  of  the  history,  but  it  accords 
with  the  genius  of  the  composition.  I  should  think  the  painter 
might  have  received  some  hints  from  M.  Chateaubriand  for  the 
conduct  of  it.  It  is  in  his  frothy,  fantastic,  rhodomontade  way — 
'  It  out-herods  Herod ! ' 

David's  pictures,  after  this,  are  tame  and  trite  in  the  comparison  ; 
they    are    not    romantic    or    revolutionary,  but   they   are    completely 

'  Yet  they  tax  Shakspeare  with  grossneas  and  barbarity.  There  is  nothing  lilce 
this  scene  in  all  his  plays,  except  Titus  Andronicus,  which  is  full  of  the  same 
tragic  exaggeration  and  tautology,  I  was  walking  out  (this  ist  of  October — a 
clear  grey  autumnal  morning)  in  the  gardens  of  the  Tuileries,  and  seeing  the  long, 
tall  avenue  of  trees  before  me  that  leads  up  to  the  barrier  of  Neuilly,  it  put  me  in 
mind  of  former  times,  of  prints  and  pictures  of  the  scenery  and  roads  in  foreign 
countries  which  I  had  been  used  to  from  a  child,  with  the  old-fashioned  look  of 
every  thing  around  Paris,  as  if  it  were  the  year  1724,  instead  of  1824,  till  the 
view  before  me  seemed  to  become  part  of  a  dream,  or  to  transport  me  into  past 
time,  or  to  raise  itself  up  in  my  imagination,  like  a  picture  in  the  *  Pilgrim's 
Progress.*  I  wondered  whether  Buonaparte  sometimes  thought  of  this  view  when 
he  was  at  St.  Helena.  I  checked  myself  in  this  strain  of  speculation  as  over- 
charged and  disproportioned  to  the  occasion,  according  to  the  correct  and  elegant 
taste  of  the  people  where  I  was,  when  on  a  post  opposite,  I  saw  stuck  up  in  large 
letters,  *  Pension  de  PUni'vers,*  meaning  a  tenpenny  ordinary.  These  are  the  people 
that  are  continually  crying  out  against  the  extravagance  and  bombast  of  their 
neighbours.  Their  imagination  runs  to  the  ends  of  the  universe,  when  it  has 
nothing  but  words  to  carry — no  people  so  magnificent,  so  prodigal  of  professions, 
so  hyperbolical  as  they — add  but  meaning  or  a  weight  of  feeling  to  them,  and  they 
complain  bitterly  of  the  load,  and  throw  it  ofF  as  barbarous,  intolerable,  Gothic, 
and  uncouth.  It  is  not  the  extravagance  of  the  style,  then,  with  which  they 
quarrel,  but  the  palpableness  of  the  imagery  which  gives  a  blow  to  their  slender 
intellectual  stamina,  or  the  accumulation  of  feeling  about  it  with  which  they  have 
not  firmness  or  comprehension  to  grapple.  '  Dip  it  in  the  ocean,  and  it  will  stand ' 
— says  Sterne's  barber  of  the  buckle  of  his  wig.  They  magnify  trifles,  con  amort ; 
it  is  only  when  a  poor  struggling  attempt  is  to  be  made  to  gain  relief  from  the 
'perilous  stulT  that  weighs  upon  the  heart,*  or  to  embody  the  swelling  conceptions 
of  the  soul  in  remote  and  lofty  images,  that  they  shrink  back  with  the  timidity  of 
women  and  the  formality  of  pedants. 

'33 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

French ;  they  are  in  a  little,  finical  manner,  without  beauty,  grandeur, 
or  effect.  He  has  precision  of  outline  and  accuracy  of  costume'; 
but  how  small  a  part  is  this  of  high  history !  In  a  scene  like  that 
of  the  Oath  of  the  Horatii,  or  the  Pass  of  Thermopyh,  who  would 
think  of  remarking  the  turn  of  an  ancle,  or  the  disposition  of  a  piece 
of  drapery,  or  the  ornaments  of  a  shield  ?  Yet  one  is  quite  at  leisure 
to  do  this  in  looking  at  the  pictures,  without  having  one's  thoughts 
called  off  by  other  and  nobler  interests.  The  attempts  at  expression 
are  meagre  and  constrained,  and  the  attitudes  affected  and  theatrical. 
There  is,  however,  a  unity  of  design  and  an  interlacing  of  shields 
and  limbs,  which  seems  to  express  one  soul  in  the  Horatii,  to  which 
considerable  praise  would  be  due,  if  they  had  more  the  look  of 
heroes,  and  less  that  of  petit-maitres.  I  do  not  wonder  David  does 
not  like  Rubens,  tor  he  has  none  of  the  Fleming's  bold,  sweeping 
outline.  He  finishes  the  details  very  prettily  and  skilfully,  but  has 
no  idea  of  giving  magnitude  or  motion  to  the  whole.  His  stern 
Romans  and  fierce  Sabines  look  like  young  gentlemen  brought  up  at 
a  dancing  or  fencing  school,  and  taking  lessons  in  these  several  elegant 
exercises.  What  a  fellow  has  he  made  of  Romulus,  standing  in  the 
act  to  strike  with  all  the  air  of  a  modern  dandy !  The  women  are 
in  attitudes,  and  contribute  to  the  eloquence  of  the  scene.  Here  is  a 
wife,  (as  we  learn  from  the  Catalogue)  there  a  sister,  here  a  mistress, 
there  a  grandmother  with  three  infants.  Thus  are  the  episodes  made 
out  by  a  genealogical  table  of  the  relations  of  human  life !  Such  is 
the  nature  of  French  genius  and  invention,  that  they  can  never  get 
out  of  leading-strings !  The  figure  of  Brutus,  in  the  picture  of  that 
subject,  has  a  fine,  manly,  unaffected  character.  It  has  shrunk  on 
one  side  to  brood  over  its  act,  without  any  strut  or  philosophic 
ostentation,  which  was  much  to  be  dreaded.  He  is  wrapt  in  gloomy 
thought,  as  in  a  mantle.  Mr.  Kean  might  have  sat  for  this  figure, 
for,  in  truth,  it  is  every  way  like  him.  The  group  of  women  on 
the  opposite  side  of  the  canvass,  making  a  contrast  by  their  lively 
colours  and  flimsy  expression  of  grief,  might  have  been  spared. 
These  pictures  have,  as  we  were  told,  been  objected  to  for  their 
too  great  display  of  the  naked  figure,  in  some  instances  bordering 
on  indecency.  The  indecency  (if  so  it  is)  is  not  in  the  nakedness 
of  the  figures,  but  in  the  barrenness  of  the  artist's  resources  to  clothe 
them  with  other  attributes,  and  with  genius  as  with  a  garment.  If 
their  souls  had  been  laid  bare  as  well  as  their  limbs,  their  spirits 
would  have  shone  through  and  concealed  any  outward  deformity. 
Nobody  complains  of  Michael  Angelo's  figures  as  wanting  severity 
and  decorum. 

Guerin's   Phiedra  and  Hippolitus   I   have  already  treated  of,  and 

134 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

I  see  no  reason  to  alter  my  opinion.  It  was  just  painted  when  I  last 
saw  it,  and  has  lost  some  of  its  freshness  and  the  gloss  of  novelty. 
Modem  pictures  have  the  art  of  very  soon  becoming  old.  What 
remains  of  it  has  the  merit  of  very  clever  studies  after  the  antique, 
arranged  into  a  subject.  The  rest  is  not  worth  speaking  of.  A  set 
of  school-boys  might  as  well  come  with  their  portfolios  and  chalk- 
drawings  under  their  arms,  and  set  up  for  a  school  of  Fine  Art. 
A  great  nation  ought  to  know  better,  and  either  strike  out  some- 
thing original _/or  others  to  imitate,  or  acknowledge  that  they  have  done 
nothing  worthy  of  themselves.  To  arch  an  eye-brow,  or  to  point 
a  finger,  is  not  to  paint  history.  The  study  of  nature  can  alone  form 
the  genuine  artist.  Any  thing  but  this  can  only  produce  counterfeits. 
The  tones  and  colours  that  feed  the  eye  with  beauty,  the  effects  of 
light  and  shade,  the  soul  speaking  in  the  eyes  or  gasping  on  the  lips, 
the  groups  that  varying  passion  blends,  these  are  the  means  by  which 
nature  reveals  herself  to  the  inspired  gaze  of  genius,  and  that, 
treasured  up  and  stamped  by  labour  and  study  on  the  canvass,  are 
the  indispensable  materials  of  historical  composition.  To  take 
plaster-casts  and  add  colour  to  them  by  an  act  of  the  will ;  or  to 
take  the  same  brittle,  inanimate,  inflexible  models,  and  put  life  and 
motion  into  them  by  mechanical  and  learned  rules,  is  more  than 
Prometheus  or  Iris  could  pretend  to  do.  It  is  too  much  for  French 
genius  to  achieve.  To  put  a  statue  into  motion,  or  to  give  appropriate, 
natural,  and  powerful  expression  to  set  features  of  any  kind,  is  at  all 
times  difficult ;  but,  in  the  present  instance,  the  difficulty  is  enhanced, 
till  it  amounts  to  a  sort  of  contradiction  in  terms ;  for  it  is  proposed 
to  engraft  French  character  and  expression  (the  only  ones  with  which 
the  artists  are  acquainted,  or  to  which  they  can  have  access  as  living 
studies)  on  Greek  forms  and  features.  Two  things  more  abhorrent 
in  nature  exist  not.  One  of  two  consequences  necessarily  happens  : 
either  the  original  model  is  given  literally  and  entire,  without  any 
attempt  to  disguise  the  awkward  plagiarism,  and  inform  it  with  a  new 
character  ;  or  if  the  artist,  disdaining  such  servile  trammels,  strives 
to  infuse  his  own  conceptions  of  grace  and  grandeur  into  it,  then  the 
hero  or  God  of  antiquity  comes  down  from  his  pedestal  to  strut  a 
French  dancing-master  or  tragedian.  For  simplicity  and  unexampled 
grace,  we  have  impertinence  and  affectation ;  for  stoic  gravity  and 
majestic  suffering,  we  have  impatience,  rage,  womanish  hysterics, 
and  the  utmost  violence  of  frenzied  distortion.  French  art  (like  all 
other  national  art)  is  either  nothing,  or  a  transcript  of  the  national 
character.  In  the  JEneas  and  Dido,  of  the  same  artist,  the  drawing, 
the  costume,  the  ornaments,  are  correct  and  classical ;  the  toilette  of 
the  picture  is  well  made ;  the  ^neas  is  not  much  more  insipid  than 

'35 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

the  hero  of  Virgil,  and  there  is  an  exceedingly  pretty  girl,  (like  a 
common  French  peasant  girl,)  a  supposed  attendant  on  the  Queen. 
The  only  part  of  the  picture  in  which  he  has  attempted  an  extra- 
ordinary effect,  and  in  which  he  has  totally  failed,  is  in  the  expres- 
sion of  enamoured  attention  on  the  part  of  the  Queen.  Her  eyes  do 
not,  '  like  stars,  shoot  madly  from  their  spheres,'  but  they  seem  to 
have  no  sort  of  business  in  her  head,  and  make  the  doucereuse  in  a 
most  edifying  manner.  You  are  attracted  to  the  face  at  a  distance 
by  the  beauty  of  the  outline  (which  is  Greek)  and  instantly  repelled 
by  the  grossness  of  the  filling  up  of  the  expression  (which  is  French). 
The  Clytemnestra  is,  I  think,  his  chef-d'csuvre.  She  is  a  noble  figure, 
beautiful  in  person,  and  deadly  of  purpose ;  and  there  is  that  kind  of 
breathless  suppression  of  feeling,  and  noiseless  moving  on  to  her  end, 
which  the  rigid  style  of  French  art  is  not  ill-adapted  to  convey. 
But  there  is  a  strange  tone  of  colouring  thrown  over  the  picture, 
which  gives  it  the  appearance  of  figures  done  in  stained  porcelain,  or 
of  an  optical  deception.  There  is  nothing  to  remind  you  that  the 
actors  of  the  scene  are  of  flesh  and  blood.  They  may  be  of  steel 
or  bronze,  or  glazed  earthenware,  or  any  other  smooth,  unfeeling 
substance.  This  hard,  liny,  metallic,  tangible  character  is  one  of  the 
great  discriminating  features  of  French  painting,  which  arises  partly 
from  their  habitual  mode  of  study,  partly  from  the  want  of  an  eye 
for  nature,  but  chiefly,  I  think,  from  their  craving  after  precise  and 
definite  ideas,  in  which,  if  there  is  the  least  flaw  or  inflection,  their 
formal  apprehension  loses  sight  of  them  altogether,  and  cannot  recover 
the  clue.  This  incrusted,  impenetrable,  stifling  appearance  is  not 
only  unpleasant  to  the  eye,  but  repels  sympathy,  and  renders  their 
pictures  (what  they  have  been  asserted  to  be)  negations  equally  of  the 
essential  qualities  both  of  painting  and  sculpture. 

Of  their  want  of  ideal  passion,  or  of  the  poetry  of  painting,  and 
tendency  to  turn  every  thing  either  into  comic  or  tragic  pantomime, 
the  picture  of  Cain  after  the  Murder  of  Abel,  by  Paul  Guerin,  is  a 
striking  example.  This  composition  does  not  want  power.  It  would 
be  disingenuous  to  say  so.  The  artist  has  done  what  he  meant  in  it. 
What,  then,  has  he  expressed  ?  The  rage  of  a  wild  beast,  or  of  a 
maniac  gnashing  his  teeth,  and  rushing  headlong  down  a  precipice  to 
give  vent  to  a  momentary  frenzy  ;  not  the  fixed  inward  anguish  of  a 
man,  withered  by  the  curse  of  his  Maker,  and  driven  out  into  the 
wide  universe  with  despair  and  solitude  and  unavailing  remorse  for 
his  portion.  The  face  of  his  wife,  who  appears  crouched  behind 
him,  possesses  great  beauty  and  sweetness.  But  the  sweetness  and 
beauty  are  kept  quite  distinct.  That  is,  grief  absorbs  some  of  the 
features,  while  others  retain  all   their  softness  and   serenity.     This 

136 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

hypercriticism  would  not  have  been  possible,  if  the  painter  had  studied 
the  expression  of  grief  in  nature.  But  he  took  a  plaster-model,  and 
tried  to  melt  it  into  becoming  woe  ! 

I  have  said  enough  to  explain  my  objections  to  the  grand  style  of 
French  art ;  and  I  am  sure  I  do  not  wish  to  pursue  so  unpleasant  a 
subject  any  farther.  I  only  wish  to  hint  to  my  countrymen  some 
excuse  for  not  admiring  these  pictures,  and  to  satisfy  their  neighbours 
that  our  want  of  enthusiasm  is  not  wholly  owing  to  barbarism  and 
blindness  to  merit.  It  may  be  asked  then,  '  Is  there  nothing  to  praise 
in  this  collection  ? '  Far  from  it.  There  are  many  things  excellent 
and  admirable,  with  the  drawbacks  already  stated,  and  some  others 
that  are  free  from  them.  There  is  Le  Thiere's  picture  of  the 
Judgment  of  Brutus ;  a  manly,  solid,  and  powerful  composition, 
which  was  exhibited  some  years  ago  in  London,  and  is,  I  think, 
decidedly  superior  to  any  of  our  West's.  In  Horace  Vernet's 
Massacre  of  the  Mamelukes,  no  English  critic  will  deny  the  expression 
of  gloomy  ferocity  in  the  countenance  of  the  Sultan,  or  refuse  to 
extol  the  painting  of  the  drapery  of  the  Negro,  with  his  back  to  the 
spectator,  which  is,  perhaps,  equal  to  any  thing  of  the  Venetian 
School,  and  done  (for  a  wager)  from  real  drapery.  Is  not  'the 
human  face  divine '  as  well  worth  studying  in  the  original  as  the  dyes 
and  texture  of  a  tunic  ?  A  small  picture,  by  Delacroix,  taken  from 
the  Inferno,  Virgil  and  Dante  in  the  boat,  is  truly  picturesque  in  the 
composition  and  the  eifect,  and  shews  a  real  eye  for  Rubens  and  for 
nature.  The  forms  project,  the  colours  are  thrown  into  masses. 
Gerard's  Cupid  and  Psyche  is  a  beautiful  little  picture,  and  is  indeed 
as  beautiful,  both  in  composition  and  expression,  as  any  thing  of  the 
kind  can  well  be  imagined ;  I  mean,  that  it  is  done  in  its  essential 
principles  as  a  design  from  or  for  sculpture.  The  productions  of  the 
French  school  make  better  prints  than  pictures.  Yet  the  best  of 
them  look  like  engravings  from  antique  groups  or  cameos. ^  There 
is  also  a  set  of  small  pictures  by  Ducis,  explaining  the  effects  of  Love 
on  the  study  of  Painting,  SciJpture,  and  Poetry,  taken  from  appro- 
priate subjects,  and  elegantly  executed.  Here  French  art  appears  in 
its  natural  character  again,  courtly  and  polished,  and  is  proportionably 
attractive.  Perhaps  it  had  better  lay  aside  the  club  of  Hercules,  and 
take  up  the  distaff  of  Omphale ;  and  then  the  women  might  fairly 
beat  the  men  out  of  the  field,  as  they  threaten  almost  to  do  at  present. 

'  The  Orpheus  and  Eurydkt  of  Drolling  13  a  performance  of  great  merit.  The 
females,  floating  in  the  air  before  Orpheus,  are  pale  as  lilies,  and  beautiful  in  death. 
But  he  need  hardly  despair,  or  run  wild  as  he  does.  He  may  easily  overtake  them  ; 
and  as  to  vanishing,  they  have  no  appearance  of  it.  Their  figures  are  quite  solid 
and  determined  in  their  outline. 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

The  French  excel  in  pieces  of  light  gallantry  and  domestic  humour, 
as  the  English  do  in  interiors  and  pig-styes.  This  appears  to  me  the 
comparative  merit  and  real  bias  of  the  two  nations,  in  what  relates  to 
the  productions  of  the  pencil ;  but  both  will  scorn  the  compliment, 
and  one  of  them  may  write  over  the  doors  of  their  Academies  of 
Art — '  Magnis  excidit  ausis.'     The  other  cannot  even  say  so  much. 


CHAPTER  VIII 

NATIONAL    ANTIPATHIES 

The  prejudice  we  entertain  against  foreigners  is  not  in  the  first 
instance  owing  to  any  ill-will  we  bear  them,  so  much  as  to  the 
untractableness  of  the  imagination,  which  cannot  admit  two  standards 
of  moral  value  according  to  circumstances,  but  is  puzzled  by  the 
diversity  of  manners  and  character  it  observes,  and  made  uneasy  in  its 
estimate  of  the  propriety  and  excellence  of  its  own.  It  seems  that 
others  ought  to  conform  to  our  way  of  thinking,  or  we  to  theirs  ; 
and  as  neither  party  is  inclined  to  give  up  their  peculiarities,  we  cut 
the  knot  by  hating  those  who  remind  us  of  them.  We  get  rid  of 
any  idle,  half-formed,  teazing,  irksome  sense  of  obligation  to  sym- 
pathise with  or  meet  foreigners  half  way,  by  making  the  breach  as 
wide  as  possible,  and  treating  them  as  an  inferior  species  of  beings  to 
ourselves.  We  become  enemies,  because  we  cannot  be  friends.  Our 
self-love  is  annoyed  by  whatever  creates  a  suspicion  of  our  being  in 
the  wrong ;  and  only  recovers  its  level  by  setting  down  all  those  who 
differ  from  us  as  thoroughly  odious  and  contemptible. 

It  is  this  consideration  which  makes  the  good  qualities  of  other 
nations,  in  which  they  excel  us,  no  set-oiF  to  their  bad  ones,  in  which 
they  fall  short  of  us ;  nay,  we  can  forgive  the  last  much  sooner  than 
the  first.  The  French  being  a  dirty  people  is  a  complaint  we  very 
often  bring  against  them.  This  objection  alone,  however,  would 
give  us  very  little  disturbance ;  we  might  make  a  wry  face,  an 
exclamation,  and  laugh  it  off.  But  when  we  find  that  they  are  lively, 
agreeable,  and  good-humoured  in  spite  of  their  dirt,  we  then  know 
not  what  to  make  of  it.  We  are  angry  at  seeing  them  enjoy  them- 
selves in  circumstances  in  which  we  should  feel  so  uncomfortable ; 
we  are  baulked  of  the  advantage  we  had  promised  ourselves  over 
them,  and  make  up  for  the  disappointment  by  despising  them  heartily, 
as  a  people  callous  and  insensible  to  every  thing  like  common  decency. 
In  reading  Captain  Parry's  account  of  the  Esquimaux  Indian  woman, 

138 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

who  so  dexterously  trimmed  his  lamp  by  licking  up  half  the  train-oil, 
and  smearing  her  face  and  fingers  all  over  with  the  grease,  we  barely 
smile  at  this  trait  of  barbarism.  It  does  not  provoke  a  serious 
thought ;  for  it  does  not  stagger  us  in  our  opinion  of  ourselves.  But 
should  a  fine  Parisian  lady  do  the  same  thing  (or  something  like  it) 
in  the  midst  of  an  eloquent  harangue  on  the  infinite  superiority  of  the 
French  in  delicacy  and  refinement,  we  should  hardly  restrain  our 
astonishment  at  the  mixture  of  incorrigible  grossness  and  vanity. 
Unable  to  answer  her  arguments,  we  should  begin  to  hate  her  person : 
her  gaiety  and  wit,  which  had  probably  delighted  us  before,  would 
be  changed  into  forwardness,  flippancy,  and  impertinence  ;  from  seeing 
it  united  with  so  many  accomplishments,  we  should  be  led  to  doubt 
whether  sluttishness  was  not  a  virtue,  and  should  remove  the  doubt 
out  of  court  by  indulging  a  feeling  of  private  resentment,  and  resorting 
to  some  epithet  of  national  abuse.  The  mind  wishes  to  pass  an  act 
of  uniformity  for  all  its  judgments :  in  defiance  of  every  day's  ex- 
perience, it  will  have  things  of  a  piece,  and  where  it  cannot  have  every 
thing  right  or  its  own  way,  is  determined  to  have  it  all  wrong. 

A  Frenchman,  we  will  say,  drops  what  we  think  a  frivolous 
remark,  which  excites  in  us  some  slight  degree  of  impatience : 
presently  after,  he  makes  a  shrewd,  sensible  observation.  This  rather 
aggravates  the  mischief,  than  mends  it ;  for  it  throws  us  out  in  our 
calculations,  and  confounds  the  distinction  between  sense  and  nonsense 
in  our  minds.  A  volley  of  unmeaning  declamation  or  frothy  imperti- 
nence causes  us  less  chagrin  than  a  single  word  that  overturns  some 
assertion  we  had  made,  or  puts  us  under  the  necessity  of  reversing,  or 
imposes  on  us  the  still  more  unwelcome  task  of  revising  our  con- 
clusions. It  is  easy  in  this  case  to  save  ourselves  the  trouble  by 
calling  our  antagonist  knave  ot  fool;  and  the  temptation  is  too  strong, 
when  we  have  a  whole  host  of  national  prejudices  at  our  back  to 
justify  us  in  so  concise  and  satisfactory  a  mode  of  reasoning.  A 
greater  fund  of  vivacity  and  agreeable  qualities  in  our  neighbours  is 
not  sure  to  excite  simple  gratitude  or  admiration ;  it  much  oftener 
excites  envy,  and  we  are  uneasy  till  we  have  quieted  the  sense  of  our 
deficiency  by  construing  the  liveliness  of  temper  or  invention,  with 
which  we  cannot  keep  pace,  into  an  excess  of  levity,  and  the  con- 
tinued flow  of  animal  spirits  into  a  species  of  intoxicatidn  or  insanity. 
Because  the  French  are  animated  and  full  of  gesticulation,  they  are  a 
theatrical  people  ;  if  they  smile  and  are  polite,  they  are  like  monkeys — 
an  idea  an  Englishman  never  has  out  of  his  head,  and  it  is  well  if  he 
can  keep  it  between  his  lips.i     No  one  assuredly  would  appear  dull 

^  See  the  admirably-drawn,  but  painful  scene  in  Evelina  between  Captain 
Mervin  and  Monsieur  Dubois. 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

and  awkward,  who  can  help  it.  Many  an  English  belle,  who  figures 
at  home  in  the  first  circles  of  fashion  and  is  admired  for  her  airy, 
thoughtless  volubility,  is  struck  dumb,  and  looks  a  mere  dowdy  (as  if 
it  were  a  voluntary  or  assumed  transformation  of  character)  the 
moment  she  sets  foot  on  French  ground ;  and  the  whispered  sounds, 
lourde  or  elle  n'est  pas  spirituelle,  lingering  in  her  ears,  will  not  induce 
her  to  dissuade  her  husband  (if  he  is  a  Lord  or  Member  of  Parlia- 
ment) from  voting  for  a  French  war,  and  are  answered  by  the 
thunders  of  our  cannon  on  the  French  coast !  We  even  quarrel 
with  the  beauty  of  French  women,  because  it  is  not  English.  If 
their  features  are  regular,  we  find  fault  with  their  complexions ;  and 
as  to  their  expression,  we  grow  tired  of  that  eternal  smile  upon  their 
faces;  though  their  teeth  are  white,  why  should  they  be  always 
shewing  them  ?  Their  eyes  have  an  unpleasant  glitter  about  them ; 
and  their  eyebrows,  which  are  frequently  black  and  arched,  are 
painted  and  put  on  !  In  short,  no  individual,  no  nation  is  liked  by 
another  for  the  advantages  it  possesses  over  it  in  wit  or  wisdom,  in 
happiness  or  virtue.  We  despise  others  for  their  inferiority,  we  hate 
them  for  their  superiority  ;  and  I  see  no  likelihood  of  an  accom- 
modation at  this  rate.  The  English  go  abroad;  and  when  they 
come  back,  they  brood  over  the  civilities  or  the  insults  they  have 
received  with  equal  discontent.  The  gaiety  of  the  Continent  has 
thrown  an  additional  damp  upon  their  native  air,  and  they  wish  to 
clear  it  by  setting  fire  to  a  foreign  town  or  blowing  up  a  foreign 
citadel.  We  are  then  easy  and  comfortable  for  a  while.  We  think 
we  can  do  something,  that  is,  violence  and  wrong ;  and  should  others 
talk  of  retaliating,  we  say  with  Lord  Bathurst,  '  Let  them  come  !  ' — 
our  fingers  tingling  for  the  fray,  and  finding  that  nothing  rouses  us 
from  our  habitual  stupor  like  hard  blows.  Defeated  in  the  arts  of 
peace,  we  get  in  good  humour  with  ourselves  by  trying  those  of  war. 
Ashamed  to  accost  a  lady,  we  dare  face  a  bastion — without  spirit  to 
hold  up  our  heads,  we  are  too  obstinate  to  turn  our  backs — and  give 
ourselves  credit  for  being  the  greatest  nation  in  the  world,  because 
our  Jack  Tars  (who  defend  the  wooden  walls  of  Old  England — the 
same  that  we  afterwards  see  with  sore  arms  and  wooden  legs,  begging 
and  bawling  about  our  streets)  are  the  greatest  blackguards  on  the 
face  of  the  globe ;  because  our  Life  Guardsmen,  who  have  no  brains 
to  lose,  are  willing  to  have  them  knocked  out,  and  because  with  the 
incessant  noise  and  stir  of  our  steam-engines  and  spinning- jennies  (for 
having  no  wish  to  enjoy,  we  are  glad  to  work  ourselves  to  death)  we 
can  afford  to  pay  all  costs  ! 

What  makes  the  matter  worse,  is  the  idle  way  in  which  we  abstract 
upon  one  another's  characters.     We  are  struck  only  with  the  differ- 

140 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

ences,  and  leave  the  common  qualities  out  of  the  question.  This 
renders  a  mutual  understanding  hopeless.  We  put  the  exceptions  for 
the  rule.  If  we  meet  with  any  thing  odd  and  absurd  in  France,  it  is 
immediately  set  down  as  French  and  characteristic  of  the  country, 
though  we  meet  with  a  thousand  odd  and  disagreeable  things  every 
day  in  England  (that  we  never  met  before)  without  taking  any 
notice  of  them.  There  is  a  wonderful  keeping  in  our  prejudices ;  we 
reason  as  consistently  as  absurdly  upon  the  confined  notions  we  have 
taken  up.  We  put  the  good,  wholesome,  hearty,  respectable  qualities 
into  one  heap  and  call  it  English,  and  the  bad,  unwholesome,  frivolous, 
and  contemptible  ones  into  another  heap,  and  call  it  French  ;  and 
whatever  does  not  answer  to  this  pretended  sample,  we  reject  as 
spurious  and  partial  evidence.  Our  coxcomb  conceit  stands  over  the 
different  races  of  mankind,  like  a  smart  Serjeant  of  a  regiment,  and 
drills  them  into  a  pitiful  uniformity,  we  ourselves  being  picked  out  as 
the  elite  du  corps,  and  the  rest  of  the  world  forming  the  forlorn  hope 
of  humanity.  One  would  suppose,  to  judge  from  the  conversation  of 
the  two  nations,  that  all  Frenchmen  were  alike,  and  that  all  English- 
men were  personified  by  a  particular  individual,  nicknamed  John  Bull. 
The  French  have  no  idea  that  there  is  any  thing  in  England  but 
roast-beef  and  plum-pudding,  and  a  number  of  round,  red  faces, 
growing  fat  and  stupid  upon  such  kind  of  fare ;  while  our  traditional 
notion  of  the  French  is  that  of  soup-maigre  and  wooden  shoes,  and  a 
set  of  scare-crow  figures  corresponding  to  them.  All  classes  of 
society  and  differences  of  character  are  by  this  unfair  process  con- 
solidated into  a  sturdy,  surly  English  yeoman  on  the  one  side  of  the 
Channel,  or  are  boiled  down  and  evaporate  into  a  shivering,  chattering 
valet-de-chambre,  or  miserable  half-starved  peasant  on  the  other.  It 
is  a  pleasant  way  of  settling  accounts  and  taking  what  we  please  for 
granted.  It  is  a  very  old  method  of  philosophizing,  and  one  that  is 
quite  likely  to  last ! 

If  we  see  a  little  old  hump-backed  withered  Frenchman  about  five 
feet  high,  tottering  on  before  us  on  a  pair  of  spindle-shanks,  with 
white  thread  stockings,  a  shabby  great-coat,  and  his  hair  done  up  into 
a  queue,  his  face  dry,  grey,  and  pinched  up,  his  cheeks  without  blood 
in  them,  his  eyes  without  lustre,  and  his  body  twisted  like  a  cork- 
screw, we  point  to  this  grotesque  figure  as  a  true  Frenchman,  as  the 
very  essence  of  a  Parisian,  and  an  edifying  vestige  of  the  ancient 
regime  and  of  the  last  age,  before  the  French  character  was  sophisti- 
cated. It  does  not  signify  that  just  before  we  had  passed  a  bluff, 
red-faced,  jolly-looking  coachman  or  countryman,  six  feet  four  inches 
high,  having  limbs  in  proportion,  and  able  to  eat  up  any  two  ordinary 
Englishmen.     This  thumping  make-weight  is  thrown  out  of  the  scale, 

141 


NOTES   OF   A   JOURNEY 

because  it  does  not  help  out  our  argument,  or  confirm  our  prejudices. 
This  huge,  raw-boned,  heavy,  knock-kneed,  well-fed,  shining-faced 
churl  makes  no  impression  on  our  minds,  because  he  is  not  French, 
according  to  our  idea  of  the  word ;  or  we  pass  him  over  under  the 
pretext  that  he  ought  to  be  an  Englishman.  But  the  other  extreme 
we  seize  upon  with  avidity  and  delight ;  we  dandle  it,  we  doat  upon 
it,  we  make  a  puppet  of  it  to  the  imagination ;  we  speak  of  it  with 
glee,  we  quote  it  as  a  text,  we  try  to  make  a  caricature  of  it ;  our 
pens  itch  to  describe  it  as  a  complete  specimen  of  the  French  nation, 
and  as  a  convincing  and  satisfactory  proof,  that  the  English  are  the 
only  people  who  are  of  sound  mind  and  body,  strong  wind  and  limb, 
and  free  from  the  infirmities  of  a  puny  constitution,  affectation,  and 
old  age !  An  old  woman  in  France,  with  wrinkles  and  a  high- 
plaited  cap,  strikes  us  as  being  quite  French,  as  if  the  old  women  in 
England  did  not  wear  night-caps,  and  were  not  wrinkled.  In  passing 
along  the  streets,  or  through  the  walks  near  Paris,  we  continually 
meet  a  gentleman  and  lady  whom  we  take  for  English,  and  they  turn 
out  to  be  French ;  or  we  fancy  that  they  are  French,  and  we  find  on 
a  nearer  approach,  or  from  hearing  them  speak,  that  they  are  English. 
This  does  not  at  all  satisfy  us  that  there  is  no  such  marked  difference 
between  the  two  nations  as  we  are  led  to  expect ;  but  we  fasten  on 
the  first  luius  tiatune  we  can  find  out  as  a  striking  representative  of 
the  universal  French  nation,  and  chuckle  over  and  almost  hug  him  to 
our  bosoms  as  having  kindly  come  to  the  relief  of  our  wavering  pre- 
judices, and  as  an  undoubted  proof  of  our  superiority  to  such  a  set  of 
abortions  as  this,  and  of  our  right  to  insult  and  lord  it  over  them  at 
pleasure!  If  an  object  of  this  kind  (as  it  sometimes  happens)  asks 
charity  with  an  air  of  briskness  and  politesse,  and  does  not  seem  quite 
so  wretched  as  we  would  have  him,  this  is  a  further  confirmation  of 
our  theory  of  the  national  conceit  and  self-sufficiency ;  and  his  cheer- 
fulness and  content  under  deformity  and  poverty  are  added  to  his 
catalogue  of  crimes !  i  We  have  a  very  old  and  ridiculous  fancy  in 
England,  that  all  Frenchmen  are  or  ought  to  be  lean,  and  their 
women  short  and  crooked ;  and  when  we  see  a  great,  fat,  greasy 
Frenchman  waddling  along  and  ready  to  burst  with  good,  living,  we 
get  off  by  saying  that  it  is  an  unwholesome  kind  of  fat ;    or,  if  a 

1  A  French  dwarf,  exhibited  in  London  some  years  ago,  and  who  had  the  mis- 
fortune to  be  born  a  mere  trunk,  grew  enraged  at  the  mention  of  another  dwarf  as 
a  rival  in  bodily  imperfection,  and  after  insisting  that  the  other  had  both  hands 
and  feet,  exclaimed  emphatically, '  Mais  moi,  je  suis  unique.'  My  old  acquaintance 
(Dr.  Stoddart)  used  formerly  to  recount  this  trait  of  French  character  very  trium- 
phantly, but  then  it  was  in  war-time.  He  may  think  it  indecent  to  have  here 
hinted  any  such  thing  of  an  individual  of  a  nation  with  whom  we  are  at  peace. 
At  present,  he  seems  to  have  become  a  sort  of  portent  and  by-word  himself  among 
142 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

Frenchwoman  happens  to  be  tall  and  straight,  we  immediately  take 
a  disgust  at  her  masculine  looks,  and  ask  if  all  the  women  in  France 
are  giantesses  ? 

It  is  strange  we  cannot  let  other  people  alone  who  concern  them- 
selves so  little  about  us.  Why  measure  them  by  our  standard  ?  Can 
we  allow  nothing  to  exist  for  which  we  cannot  account,  or  to  be  right 
which  has  not  our  previous  sanction  ?  The  difficulty  seems  to  be 
to  suspend  our  judgments,  or  to  suppose  a  variety  of  causes  to  produce 
a  variety  of  effects.  All  men  must  be  alike — all  Frenchmen  must  be 
alike.  This  is  a  portable  theory,  and  suits  our  indolence  well.  But, 
if  they  do  not  happen  to  come  exactly  into  our  terms,  we  are  angry, 
and  transform  them  into  beasts.  Our  first  error  lies  in  expecting  a 
number  of  different  things  to  tally  with  an  abstract  idea,  or  general 
denomination,  and  we  next  stigmatize  every  deviation  from  this 
standard  by  a  nickname.  A  Spaniard,  who  has  more  gravity  than 
an  Englishman,  is  an  owl ;  a  Frenchman,  who  has  less,  is  a  monkey. 
I  confess,  this  last  simile  sticks  a  good  deal  in  my  throat ;  and  at 
times  it  requires  a  stretch  of  philosophy  to  keep  it  from  rising  to  my 
lips.  A  walk  on  the  Boulevards  is  not  calculated  to  rid  an  English- 
man of  all  his  prejudices  or  of  all  his  spleen.  The  resemblance  to  an 
English  promenade  afterwards  makes  the  difference  more  mortifying. 
There  is  room  to  breathe,  a  footpath  on  each  side  of  the  road,  and  trees 
over  your  head.  But  presently  the  appearance  of  a  Bartlemy-fair  all 
the  year  round,  the  number  of  little  shabby  stalls,  the  old  iron,  pastry, 
and  children's  toys ;  the  little  white  lapdogs,  with  red  eyes,  combing 
and  washing  ;  the  mud  and  the  green  trees,  wafting  alternate  odours  ; 
the  old  women  sitting  like  terra-cotta  figures ;  the  passengers  running 
up  against  you,  (most  of  them  so  taken  up  with  themselves  that  they 
seem  like  a  crowd  of  absent  people  ! )  the  noise,  the  bustle,  the  flutter, 
the  hurry  without  visible  object;  the  vivacity  without  intelligible 
meaning ;  the  loud  and  incessant  cry  of  *  Messieurs  '  from  a  bawling 
charlatan  inviting  you  to  some  paltry,  cheating  game,  and  a  broad 
stare  or  insignificant  grin  from  the  most  ill-bred  and  ill-looking  of  the 
motley  set  at  the  appearance  of  an  Englishman  among  them  ;  all  this 
jumble  of  little  teazing,  fantastical,  disagreeable,  chaotic  sensations 
really  puts  one's  patience  a  little  to  the  test,  and  throws  one  a  little 

English  politicians;  and  without  head  or  heart  may  exclaim — ^ Mais  mot,  je  suis 
unique  I ' — See  his  late  articles  on  the  Spanish  Refugees,  &c.  Would  such  a  man 
have  been  any  better,  had  he  never  turned  renegade,  or  had  he  become  {his  first 
ambition)  a  revolutionary  leader  ?  Would  he  not  have  been  as  blood-thirsty,  as 
bigoted,  as  perverse  and  ridiculous  on  the  side  of  the  question  he  left,  as  on  the 
one  he  has  come  over  to  ?  It  imports  little  what  men  are,  so  long  as  they  are 
themsel'ves.  The  great  misfortune  of  a  certain  class  of  persons  (both  for  their  own 
sake  and  that  of  others)  is  ever  to  have  been  born  or  heard  of  ! 

143 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

off  one's  guard.  I  was  in  this  humour  the  other  day,  and  wanted 
some  object  to  conduct  off  a  superfluity  of  rising  irritability,  when,  at 
a  painted  booth  opposite,  I  saw  a  great  lubberly  boy  in  an  ecstacy  of 
satisfaction.  He  had  on  a  red  coat,  a  huge  wig  of  coarse  yellow 
hair,  and  with  his  hat  was  beating  a  monkey  in  the  face,  dressed  en 
militaire — grinning,  jabbering,  laughing,  screaming,  frantic  with  delight 
at  the  piteous  aspect  and  peevish  gestures  of  the  animal ;  while  a  tall 
showman,  in  a  rusty  blue  coat  and  long  pig-tail,  (which  might  have 
been  stolen  from  the  monkey)  looked  on  with  severe  complacency 
and  a  lofty  pride  in  the  bizarrerie,  and  the  'mutually  reflected 
charities '  of  the  scene.  The  trio  (I  am  vexed  to  think  it)  massed 
themselves  in  my  imagination,  and  I  was  not  sorry  to  look  upon  them 
as  a  little  national  group,  well-matched,  and  tricked  out  alike  in 
pretensions  to  huraanity.i 

I  was  relieved  from  this  fit  of  misanthropy,  by  getting  into  the 
shade  of  the  barrier-wall,  and  by  meeting  a  man,  (a  common  French 
mechanic,)  carrying  a  child  in  his  arms,  and  the  mother  by  its  side, 
clapping  her  hands  at  it,  smiling,  and  calling  out  '  Mon  petit  ami !  ' 
with  unmingled  and  unwearied  delight.  There  was  the  same  over- 
animation  in  talking  to  the  child  as  there  would  have  been  in  talking 
to  a  dog  or  a  parrot.  But  here  it  gave  pleasure  instead  of  pain, 
because  our  sympathies  went  along  with  it.  I  change  my  opinion  of 
the  French  character  fifty  times  a  day,  because,  at  every  step,  I  wish 
to  form  a  theory,  which  at  the  next  step,  is  contradicted.  The 
ground  seems  to  me  so  uncertain — the  tenure  by  which  I  hold  my 
opinions  so  frail,  that  at  last  I  grow  ashamed  of  them  altogether — of 
what  I  think  right,  as  of  what  I  think  wrong. 

To  praise  or  to  blame  is  perhaps  equally  an  impertinence.  While 
we  are  strangers  to  foreign  manners  and  customs,  we  cannot  be  judges  ; 
it  would  take  almost  a  life  to  understand  the  reasons  and  the  differ- 
ences ;  and  by  the  time  we  can  be  supposed  to  do  this,  we  become 
used  to  them,  and  in  some  sense  parties  concerned.  The  English 
are  the  fools  of  an  hypothesis,  as  the  Scotch  are  of  a  system.  We 
must  have  an  opinion — right  or  wrong ;  but,  in  that  case,  till  we  have 
the  means  of  knowing  whether  it  is  right  or  wrong,  it  is  as  well  to 
have  a  qualified  one.  We  may  at  least  keep  our  temper,  and  collect 
hints    for    self-correction  ;    we    may    amuse    ourselves    in    collecting 

^  I  remember  being  once  mucb  amused  with  meeting,  in  a  hot  dusty  day,  between 
Blenheim  and  Oxford,  some  strolling  Italians  with  a  troop  of  dancing  dogs,  and  a 
monkey  in  costume  mounted  on  the  back  of  one  of  them.  He  rode  en  ca'valier,  and 
kept  his  countenance  with  great  gravity  and  decorum,  and  turned  round  with  a 
certain  look  of  surprise  and  resentment,  that  I,  a  foot-passenger,  should  seem  to 
question  his  right  to  go  on  horseback.  This  seemed  to  me  a  fine  piece  of  practical 
satire  in  the  manner  of  Swift. 

'44 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

materials  for  a  decision  that  may  never  be  passed,  or  will  have  little 
effect,  even  when  it  is,  and  may  clear  our  eyesight  from  the  motes 
and  beams  of  prejudice  by  looking  at  things  as  they  occur.  Our 
opinions  have  no  great  influence  on  others ;  but  the  spirit  in  which 
we  form  them  has  a  considerable  one  on  our  own  happiness.  It  is  of 
more  importance  to  ourselves  than  to  the  French,  what  we  think  of 
them.  It  would  be  hard  if  a  mental  obliquity  on  their  parts  should 
'  thrust  us  from  a  level  consideration,'  or  some  hasty  offence  taken  at 
the  outset  should  shut  up  our  eyes,  our  ears,  and  understandings  for 
the  rest  of  a  journey,  that  we  have  commenced  for  no  other  purpose 
than  to  be  spectators  of  a  new  and  shifting  scene,  and  to  have  our 
faculties  alike  open  to  impressions  of  all  sorts. 

What  Englishman  has  not  seen  the  Cemetery  of  Perc  la  Chaise  ? 
What  Englishman  will  undertake  either  to  condemn  or  entirely 
approve  it,  unless  he  could  enter  completely  into  the  minds  of  the 
French  themselves?  The  approach  to  it  (a  little  way  out  of  Paris) 
is  literally  '  garlanded  with  flowers.'  You  imagine  yourself  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  a  wedding,  a  fair,  or  some  holiday-festival.  Women 
are  sitting  by  the  road-side  or  at  their  own  doors,  making  chaplets  of 
a  sort  of  yellow  flowers,  which  are  gathered  in  the  fields,  baked,  and 
will  then  last  a  French  '  Forever.'  They  have  taken  '  the  lean 
abhorred  monster,'  Death,  and  strewed  him  o'er  and  o'er  with 
sweets ;  they  have  made  the  grave  a  garden,  a  flower-bed,  where  all 
Paris  reposes,  the  rich  and  the  poor,  the  mean  and  the  mighty,  gay 
and  laughing,  and  putting  on  a  fair  outside  as  in  their  lifetime.  Death 
here  seems  life's  playfellow,  and  grief  and  smiling  content  sit  at  one 
tomb  together.  Roses  grow  out  of  the  clayey  ground ;  there  is  the 
urn  for  tears,  the  slender  cross  for  faith  to  twine  round ;  the  neat 
marble  monument,  the  painted  wreaths  thrown  upon  it  to  freshen 
memory,  and  mark  the  hand  of  friendship.  '  No  black  and  melan- 
cholic yew-trees '  darken  the  scene,  and  add  a  studied  gloom  to  it 
— no  ugly  death's  heads  or  carved  skeletons  shock  the  sight.  On 
the  contrary,  some  pretty  Ophelia,  as  general  mourner,  appears  to 
have  been  playing  her  fancies  over  a  nation's  bier,  to  have  been 
scattering  '  pansies  for  thoughts,  rue  for  remembrances.'  But  is  not 
the  expression  of  grief,  like  hers,  a  little  too  fantastical  and  light- 
headed ?  Is  it  not  too  much  like  a  childish  game  of  Make-Believe  ? 
Or  does  it  not  imply  a  certain  want  of  strength  of  mind,  as  well  as 
depth  of  feeling,  thus  to  tamper  with  the  extremity  of  woe,  and 
varnish  over  the  most  serious  contemplation  of  mortality  I  True 
sorrow  is  manly  and  decent,  not  eflfeminate  or  theatrical.  The  tomb 
is  not  a  baby-house  for  the  imagination  to  hang  its  idle  ornaments  and 
mimic  finery  in.  To  meet  sad  thoughts,  and  o/erpower  or  allay  them 
VOL.  IX.  :  K  145 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

by  other  lofty  and  tender  ones,  is  right ;  but  to  shun  them  altogether, 
to  affect  mirth  in  the  midst  of  sighing,  and  divert  the  pangs  of  inward 
misfortune  by  something  to  catch  the  eye  and  tickle  the  sense,  is  what 
the  English  do  not  sympathize  with.  It  is  an  advantage  the  French 
have  over  us.  The  fresh  plants  and  trees  that  wave  over  our  graves ; 
the  cold  marble  that  contains  our  ashes ;  the  secluded  scene  that 
collects  the  wandering  thoughts ;  the  innocent,  natural  flowers  that 
spring  up,  unconscious  of  our  loss  —  objects  like  these  at  once 
cherish  and  soften  our  regrets ;  but  the  petty  daily  offerings  of  con- 
dolence, the  forced  liveliness  and  the  painted  pride  of  the  scene  before 
us,  are  like  galvanic  attempts  to  recall  the  fleeting  life— they  neither 
flatter  the  dead  nor  become  the  living  !  One  of  the  most  heartless 
and  flimsy  extravagances  of  the  New  Eloise,  is  the  attempt  made  to 
dress  up  the  daughter  of  Madame  d'Orbe  like  Julia,  and  set  her  in 
her  place  at  the  table  after  her  death.  Is  not  the  burying-ground  of 
the  Pere  la  Chaise  tricked  out  and  over-acted  much  on  the  same 
false  principle,  as  if  there  were  nothing  sacred  from  impertinence  and 
affectation  ?  I  will  not  pretend  to  determine ;  but  to  an  English 
taste  it  is  so.  We  see  things  too  much,  perhaps,  on  the  dark  side ; 
they  see  them  too  much  (if  that  is  possible)  on  the  bright.  Here  is 
the  tomb  of  Abelard  and  Eloise — immortal  monument,  immortal  as 
the  human  heart  and  poet's  verse  can  make  it !  But  it  is  slight, 
fantastic,  of  the  olden  time,  and  seems  to  shrink  from  the  glare  of 
daylight,  or  as  if  it  would  like  to  totter  back  to  the  old  walls  of  the 
Paraclete,  and  bury  its  quaint  devices  and  its  hallowed  inscriptions  in 
shadowy  twilight.  It  is,  however,  an  affecting  sight,  and  many  a 
votive  garland  is  sprinkled  over  it.  Here  is  the  tomb  of  Ney,  (the 
double  traitor)  worthy  of  his  fate  and  of  his  executioner ; — and  of 
Massena  and  Kellerman.  There  are  many  others  of  great  note, 
and  some  of  the  greatest  names — Moli^re,  Fontaine,  De  Lille. 
Chancellors  and  charlottiers  lie  mixed  together,  and  announce  them- 
selves with  equal  pomp.  These  people  have  as  good  an  opinion  of 
themselves  after  death  as  before  it.  You  see  a  bust  with  a  wreath 
or  crown  round  its  head — a  strange  piece  of  masquerade — and  other 
tombs  with  a  print  or  miniature  of  the  deceased  hanging  to  them  ! 
Frequently  a  plain  marble  slab  is  laid  down  for  the  surviving  relatives 
of  the  deceased,  waiting  its  prey  in  expressive  silence.  This  is 
making  too  free  with  death,  and  acknowledging  a  claim  which 
requires  no  kind  of  light  to  be  thrown  upon  it.  We  should  visit  the 
tombs  of  our  friends  with  more  soothing  feelings,  without  marking 
out  our  own  places  beside  them.  But  every  French  thought  or 
sentiment  must  have  an  external  emblem.  The  inscriptions  are  in 
general,  however,  simple  and  appropriate.  I  only  remarked  one  to 
146 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

which  any  exception  could  be  taken ;  it  was  a  plain  tribute  of 
affection  to  some  individual  by  his  family,  who  professed  to  have 
'  erected  this  modest  monument  to  preserve  his  memory  Jorever !  ' 
What  a  singular  idea  of  modesty  and  eternity  !  So  the  French,  in 
the  Catalogue  of  the  Louvre,  in  1803,  after  recounting  the  various 
transmigrations  of  the  Apollo  Belvidere  in  the  last  two  thousand  years 
(vain  warnings  of  mutability ! )  observed,  that  it  was  at  last  placed  in 
the  Museum  at  Paris,  '  to  remain  there  forever.'  Alas !  it  has  been 
gone  these  ten  years. 


CHAPTER  IX 

Mademoiselle  Mars  (of  whom  so  much  has  been  said)  quite  comes 
up  to  my  idea  of  an  accomplished  comic  actress.  I  do  not  know 
that  she  does  more  than  this,  or  imparts  a  feeling  of  excellence  that 
we  never  had  before,  and  are  at  a  loss  how  to  account  for  afterwards 
(as  was  the  case  with  our  Mrs.  Jordan  and  Mrs.  Siddons  in  opposite 
departments,)  but  she  answers  exactly  to  a  preconception  in  the  mind, 
and  leaves  nothing  wanting  to  our  wishes.  I  had  seen  nothing  of  the 
kind  on  our  stage  for  many  years,  and  my  satisfaction  was  the  greater, 
as  I  had  often  longed  to  see  it.  The  last  English  actress  who  shone 
in  genteel  comedy  was  Miss  Farren,  and  she  was  just  leaving  the 
stage  when  I  first  became  acquainted  with  it.  She  was  said  to  be 
a  faint  copy  of  Mrs.  Abington — but  I  seem  to  see  her  yet,  glittering 
in  the  verge  of  the  horizon,  fluttering,  gay,  and  airy,  the  '  elegant  turn 
of  her  head,'  the  nodding  plume  of  feathers,  the  gloves  and  fan,  the 
careless  mien,  the  provoking  indifference — we  have  had  nothing  like 
it  since,  for  I  cannot  admit  that  Miss  O'Neil  had  the  Lady-Tea%k  air 
at  all.  Out  of  tragedy  she  was  awkward  and  heavy.  She  could 
draw  out  a  white,  patient,  pathetic  pocket-handkerchief  with  great 
grace  and  simplicity ;  she  had  no  notion  of  flirting  a  fan.  The  rule 
here  is  to  do  every  thing  without  effort — 

'  Flavia  the  least  and  slightest  toy 
Can  with  resistless  art  employ.' 

This  art  is  lost  among  us ;  the  French  still  have  it  in  very  considerable 
perfection.  Really,  it  is  a  fine  thing  to  see  Moli^re's  Misanthrope, 
at  the  Theatre  Frangais,  with  Mademoiselle  Mars  as  Celimene.  I 
had  already  seen  some  very  tolerable  acting  at  the  minor  French 
Theatres,  but  I  remained  sceptical ;  I  still  had  my  English  scruples 
hanging  about  me,  nor  could  I  get  quite  reconciled  to  the  French 
manner.      For  mannerism  is  not  excellence.     It  might  be  good,  but  I 

'47 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

was  not  sure  of  it.  Whatever  one  hesitates  about  in  this  way,  is  not 
the  best.  If  a  thing  is  first-rate,  you  see  it  at  once,  or  the  fault  is 
yours.  True  genius  will  always  get  the  better  of  our  local  prejudices, 
for  it  has  already  surmounted  its  own.  For  this  reason,  one  becomes 
an  immediate  convert  to  the  excellence  of  the  French  school  of 
serious  comedy.  Their  actors  have  lost  little  or  nothing  of  their 
spirit,  tact,  or  skill  in  embodying  the  wit  and  sense  of  their  favourite 
authors.  The  most  successful  passages  do  not  interfere  with  our 
admiration  of  the  best  samples  of  English  acting,  or  run  counter  to 
our  notions  of  propriety.  That  which  we  thought  well  done  among 
ourselves,  we  here  see  as  well  or  better  done ;  that  which  we 
thought  defective,  avoided.  The  excellence  or  even  superiority  of 
the  French  over  us  only  confirms  the  justness  of  our  taste.  If  the 
actor  might  feel  some  jealousy,  the  ci'itic  can  feel  none.  What 
Englishman  does  not  read  Moli^re  with  pleasure  ?  Is  it  not  a 
treat  then  to  see  him  well  acted  ?  There  is  nothing  to  recall  our 
national  antipathies,  and  we  are  glad  to  part  with  such  unpleasant 
guests. 

The  curtain  is  scarcely  drawn  up,  when  something  of  this  effect 
is  produced  in  the  play  I  have  mentioned,  and  the  entrance  of 
Mademoiselle  Mars  decides  it.  Her  few  first  simple  sentences — her 
'  Mon  Arm '  at  her  lover's  first  ridiculous  suggestion,  the  mingled 
surprise,  displeasure,  and  tenderness  in  the  tone — her  little  peering 
eyes,  full  of  languor  and  archness  of  meaning — the  peaked  nose  and 
thin  compressed  lips,  opening  into  an  intelligent,  cordial  smile — her 
self-possession — her  slightest  gesture — the  ease  and  rapidity  of  her 
utterance,  every  word  of  which  is  perfectly  distinct — the  playful, 
wondering  good-nature  with  which  she  humours  the  Misanthrope's 
eccentricities  throughout,  and  the  finer  tone  of  sense  and  feeling  in 
which  she  rejects  his  final  proposal,  must  stamp  her  a  favourite  with 
the  English  as  well  as  with  the  French  part  of  the  audience.  I 
cannot  see  why  that  should  not  be  the  case.  She  is  all  life  and  spirit. 
Would  we  be  thought  entirely  without  them  ?  She  has  a  thorough 
understanding  and  relish  of  her  author's  text.  So,  we  think,  have 
we.  She  has  character,  expression,  decision — they  are  the  very 
things  we  pique  ourselves  upon.  Ease,  grace,  propriety — we  aspire 
to  them,  if  we  have  them  not.  She  is  free  from  the  simagrees, 
the  unmeaning  petulance  and  petty  affectation  that  we  reproach  the 
French  with,  and  has  none  of  the  awkwardness,  insipidity,  or  vulgarity 
that  we  are  so  ready  to  quarrel  with  at  home.  It  would  be  strange 
if  the  English  did  not  admire  her  as  much  as  they  profess  to  do.  I 
have  seen  but  one  book  of  travels  in  which  she  was  abused,  and  that 
was  written  by  a  Scotchman !  Mademoiselle  Mars  is  neither  hand- 
148 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

some  nor  delicately  formed.  She  has  not  the  light  airy  grace,  nor 
the  evanescent  fragility  of  appearance  that  distinguished  Miss  Farren, 
but  more  point  and  meaning,  or  more  of  the  intellectual  part  of 
comedy. 

She  was  admirably  supported  in  Celimene.  Monsieur  Damas 
played  the  hero  of  the  Misanthrope,  and  played  it  with  a  force  and 
natural  freedom  which  I  had  no  conception  of  as  belonging  to  the 
French  stage.  If  they  drawl  out  their  tragic  rhymes  into  an  endless 
sing-song,  they  cut  up  their  comic  verses  into  mincemeat.  The  pauses, 
the  emphasis,  are  left  quite  ad  libitum,  and  are  as  sudden  and  varied 
as  in  the  most  familiar  or  passionate  conversation.  In  Racine  they 
are  obliged  to  make  an  effort  to  get  out  of  themselves,  and  are  solemn 
and  well-behaved ;  in  MoliSre  they  are  at  home,  and  commit  all  sorts 
of  extravagances  with  wonderful  alacrity  and  effect.  Heroes  in 
comedy,  pedants  in  tragedy,  they  are  greatest  on  small  occasions  ; 
and  their  most  brilliant  efforts  arise  out  of  the  ground  of  common  life. 
Monsieur  Damas's  personification  of  the  Misanthrope  appeared  to  me 
masterly.  He  had  apparently  been  chosen  to  fill  the  part  for  his 
ugliness ;  but  he  played  the  lover  and  the  fanatic  with  remarkable 
skill,  nature,  good-breeding,  and  disordered  passion.  The  rapidity, 
the  vehemence  of  his  utterance  and  gestures,  the  transitions  from  one 
feeling  to  another,  the  fond  rapture,  the  despair,  the  rage,  the  sarcastic 
coolness,  the  dignified  contempt,  were  much  in  the  style  of  our  most 
violent  tragic  representations,  and  such  as  we  do  not  see  in  our  serious 
comedy  or  in  French  tragedy.  The  way  in  which  this  philosophic 
madman  gave  a  loose  to  the  expression  of  his  feelings,  when  he  first 
suspects  the  fidelity  of  his  mistress,  when  he  quarrels  with  her,  and 
when  he  is  reconciled  to  her,  was  strikingly  affecting.  It  was  a 
regular  furious  scolding-bout,  with  the  ordinary  accompaniments  of 
tears,  screams,  and  hysterics.  A  comic  actor  with  us  would  have 
made  the  part  insipid  and  genteel ;  a  tragic  one  with  them  pompous 
and  affected.  At  Drury-lane,  Mr.  Powell  would  take  the  part. 
Our  fine  gentlemen  are  walking  suits  of  clothes ;  their  tragic  per- 
formers are  a  professor's  gown  and  wig  :  the  Misanthrope  of  Moliire, 
as  Monsieur  Damas  plays  it,  is  a  true  orator  and  man  of  genius.  If 
they  pour  the  oil  of  decorum  over  the  loftier  waves  of  tragedy,  their 
sentimental  comedy  is  like  a  puddle  in  a  storm.  The  whole  was 
admirably  cast,  and  ought  to  make  the  English  ashamed  of  them- 
selves, if  they  are  not  above  attending  to  any  thing  that  can  give 
pleasure  to  themselves  or  other  people.     Arsinoe,  the  friend  and  rival 

of  Celimlne,  was  played  by  Madame ,  a  ripe,  full-blown  beauty, 

a  prude,  the  redundancies  of  whose  person  and  passions  are  kept  in 
due  bounds  by  tight  lacing  and  lessons  of  morality.     Eliante  was  a 

149 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

Mademoiselle  Menjaud,  a  very  aimable-looking  young  person,  and 
exactly  fitted  to  be  an  eleve  in  this  School  for  Scandal.  She  smiled 
and  blushed  and  lisped  mischief  in  the  prettiest  manner  imaginable. 
The  man  who  comes  to  read  his  Sonnet  to  Alceste  was  inimitable. 
His  teeth  had  an  enamel,  his  lips  a  vermilion,  his  eyes  a  brilliancy,  his 
smile  a  self-complacency,  such  as  never  met  in  poet  or  in  peer,  since 
Revolutions  and  Reviews  came  into  fashion.  He  seemed  to  have 
been  preserved  in  a  glass-case  for  the  last  hundred  and  fifty  years,  and 
to  have  walked  out  of  it  in  these  degenerate  days,  dressed  in  brocade, 
in  smiles  and  self-conceit,  to  give  the  world  assurance  of  what  a 
Frenchman  was !  Philinte  was  also  one  of  those  prosing  confidants, 
with  grim  features,  and  profound  gravity,  that  are  to  be  found  in  all 
French  plays,  and  who,  by  their  patient  attention  to  a  speech  of  half 
an  hour  long,  acquire  an  undoubted  right  to  make  one  of  equal  length 
in  return.  When  they  were  all  drawn  up  in  battle-array,  in  the  scene 
near  the  beginning,  which  Sheridan  has  copied,  it  presented  a  very 
formidable  aspect  indeed,  and  the  effect  was  an  historical  deception. 
You  forgot  you  were  sitting  at  a  play  at  all,  and  fancied  yourself 
transported  to  the  court  or  age  of  Louis  xiv. ! — Blest  period! — the 
triumph  of  folly  and  of  France,  when,  instead  of  poring  over  systems 
of  philosophy,  the  world  lived  in  a  round  of  impertinence — when  to 
talk  nonsense  was  wit,  to  listen  to  it  politeness — when  men  thought 
of  nothing  but  themselves,  and  turned  their  heads  with  dress  instead 
of  the  affairs  of  Europe — when  the  smile  of  greatness  was  felicity, 
the  smile  of  beauty  Elysium — and  when  men  drank  the  brimming 
nectar  of  self-applause,  instead  of  waiting  for  the  opinion  of  the 
reading  public !  Who  would  not  fling  himself  back  to  this  period  of 
idle  enchantment  ?  But  as  we  cannot,  the  best  substitute  for  it  is  to 
see  a  comedy  of  Moli^re's  acted  at  the  Theatre  Fran5ais.  The 
thing  is  there  imitated  to  the  life. 

After  all,  there  is  something  sufficiently  absurd  and  improbable  in 
this  play.  The  character  from  which  it  takes  its  title  is  not  well 
made  out.  A  misanthrope  and  a  philanthropist  are  the  same  thing, 
as  Rousseau  has  so  well  shewn  in  his  admirable  criticism  on  this  piece. 
Besides,  what  can  be  so  nationally  characteristic  as  the  voluntary  or 
dramatic  transfers  of  passion  in  it  ?  Alceste  suspects  his  mistress's 
truth,  and  makes  an  abrupt  and  violent  declaration  of  love  to  another 
woman  in  consequence,  as  if  the  passion  (in  French)  went  along  with 
the  speech,  and  our  feelings  could  take  any  direction  at  pleasure 
which  we  bethought  ourselves  of  giving  them.  And  then  again, 
when  after  a  number  of  outrages  and  blunders  committed  by  himself, 
he  finds  he  is  in  the  wrong,  and  that  he  ought  to  be  satisfied  with 
Celimene  and  the  world,  which  turns  out  no  worse  than  he  always 

150 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

thought  it ;  he  takes,  in  pure  spite  and  the  spirit  of  contradiction,  the 
resolution  to  quit  her  forever,  unless  she  will  agree  to  go  and  live 
with  him  in  a  wilderness.  This  is  not  misanthropy,  but  sheer 
'  midsummer  madness.'  It  is  a  mere  idle  abstract  determination  to 
be  miserable,  and  to  make  others  so,  and  not  the  desperate  resource 
of  bitter  disappointment  (for  he  has  received  none)  nor  is  it  in  the 
least  warranted  by  the  proud  indignation  of  a  worthy  sensible  man  at 
the  follies  of  the  world  (which  character  Alceste  is  at  first  represented 
to  be).  It  is  a  gratuitous  start  of  French  imagination,  which  is  still 
in  extremes,  and  ever  in  the  wrong.  Why,  I  would  ask,  must  a  man 
be  either  a  mere  courtier  and  man  of  the  world,  pliant  to  every 
custom,  or  a  mere  enthusiast  and  maniac,  absolved  from  common 
sense  and  reason  ?  Why  could  not  the  hero  of  the  piece  be  a 
philosopher,  a  satirist,  a  railer  at  mankind  in  general,  and  yet  marry 
Celimene,  with  whom  he  is  in  love,  and  who  has  proved  herself 
worthy  of  his  regard  ?  The  extravagance  of  Timon  is  tame  and 
reasonable  to  this,  for  Timon  had  been  ruined  by  his  faith  in  mankind, 
whom  he  shuns.  Yet  the  French  would  consider  Timon  as  a  very 
farouche  and  outre  sort  of  personage.  To  be  hurried  into  extremities 
by  extreme  suffering  and  wrong,  is  with  them  absurd  and  shocking  : 
to  play  the  fool  without  a  motive  or  in  virtue  of  making  a  set  speech, 
they  think  in  character  and  keeping.  So  far,  to  be  sure,  we  differ  in 
the  first  principles  of  dramatic  composition.  A  similar  remark  might 
be  made  on  the  Tartuffe.  This  character  is  detected  over  and  over 
again  in  acts  of  the  most  barefaced  profligacy  and  imposture ;  he 
makes  a  fine  speech  on  the  occasion,  and  Orgon  very  quietly  puts  the 
offence  in  his  pocket.  This  credulity  to  verbal  professions  would  be 
tolerated  on  no  stage  but  the  French,  as  natural  or  probable.  Plain 
English  practical  good  sense  would  revolt  at  it  as  a  monstrous  fiction. 
But  the  French  are  so  fond  of  hearing  themselves  talk,  that  they  take 
a  sort  of  interest  (by  proxy)  in  whatever  affords  an  opportunity  for 
an  ingenious  and  prolix  harangue,  and  attend  to  the  dialogue  of  their 
plays,  as  they  might  to  the  long-winded  intricacies  of  a  law-suit.  Mr. 
Bartolino  Saddletree  would  have  assisted  admirably  at  a  genuine 
prosing  French  Comedy. 

Mademoiselle  Mars  played  also  in  the  afterpiece,  a  sort  of  shadowy 
Catherine  and  Petruchio.  She  is  less  at  home  in  the  romp  than  in  the 
fine  lady.  She  did  not  give  herself  up  to  the  '  whole  loosened  soul ' 
of  farce,  nor  was  there  the  rich  laugh,  the  sullen  caprice,  the  childish 
delight  and  astonishment  in  the  part,  that  Mrs.  Jordan  would  have 
thrown  into  it.  Mrs.  Orger  would  have  done  it  almost  as  well. 
There  was  a  dryness  and  restraint,  as  if  there  was  a  constant  dread  of 
running  into  caricature.     The  outline  was  correct,  but  the  filling  up 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

was  not  bold  or  luxuriant.  There  is  a  tendency  in  the  lighter  French 
comedy  to  a  certain  jejuneness  of  manner,  such  as  we  see  in  litho- 
graphic prints.  They  do  not  give  full  swing  to  the  march  of  the 
humour,  just  as  in  their  short,  tripping  walk  they  seem  to  have  their 
legs  tied.  Madame  Marsan  is  in  this  respect  superior.  There  was 
an  old  man  and  woman  in  the  same  piece,  in  whom  the  quaint 
drollery  of  a  couple  of  veteran  retainers  in  the  service  of  a  French 
family  was  capitally  expressed.  The  humour  of  Shakspeare's  play, 
as  far  as  it  was  extracted,  hit  very  well. — The  behaviour  of  the 
audience  was  throughout  exemplary.  There  was  no  crowd  at  the 
door,  though  the  house  was  as  full  as  it  could  hold ;  and  indeed  most 
of  the  places  are  bespoke,  whenever  any  of  their  standard  pieces  are 
performed.  The  attention  never  flags ;  and  the  buzz  of  eager 
expectation  and  call  for  silence,  when  the  curtain  draws  up,  is  just 
the  same  as  with  us  when  an  Opera  is  about  to  be  performed,  or  a 
song  to  be  sung.  A  French  audience  are  like  flies  caught  in  treacle. 
Their  wings  are  clogged,  and  it  is  all  over  with  their  friskings  and 
vagaries.  Their  bodies  and  their  minds  set  at  once.  They  have,  in 
fact,  a  national  theatre  and  a  national  literature,  which  we  have  not. 
Even  well-informed  people  among  us  hardly  know  the  difference 
between  Otway  and  Shakspeare ;  and  if  a  person  has  a  fancy  for  any 
of  our  elder  classics,  he  may  have  it  to  himself  for  what  the  public 
cares.  The  French,  on  the  contrary,  know  and  value  their  best 
authors.  They  have  MoliSre  and  Racine  by  heart — they  come  to 
their  plays  as  to  an  intellectual  treat ;  and  their  beauties  are  reflected 
in  a  thousand  minds  around  you,  as  you  see  your  face  at  every  turn  in 
the  Cafe  des  Milles-Colonnes.  A  great  author  or  actor  is  really  in 
France  what  one  fancies  them  in  England,  before  one  knows  any 
thing  of  the  world  as  it  is  called.  It  is  a  pity  we  should  set  ourselves 
up  as  the  only  reading  or  reflecting  people — ut  lucus  a  non  lucendo.^ 
But  we  have  here  no  oranges  in  the  pit,  no  cry  of  porter  and  cider, 
no  jack-tars  to  encore  Mr.  Braham  three  times  in  '  The  Death  of 
Abercrombie,'  and  no  play-bills.  This  last  is  a  great  inconvenience 
to  strangers,  and  is  what  one  would  not  expect  from  a  play-going 

^  Mr.  Wordsworth,  in  some  fine  lines,  reproaches  the  French  with  having  '  no 
single  volume  paramount,  no  master-spirit' — 

*  But  equally  a  want  of  books  and  men,' 

I  wish  he  would  shew  any  single  author  that  exercises  such  a  'paramount* 
influence  over  the  minds  of  the  English,  as  four  or  five  *  master-spirits  *  do  on 
those  of  the  French.  The  merit  is  not  here  the  question,  but  tlie  effect  pro- 
duced. He  himself  is  not  a  very  striking  example  of  the  sanguine  enthusiasm 
with  which  his  countrymen  identify  themselves  with  works  of  great  and  original 
genius  ! 
152 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

people ;  though  it  probably  arises  from  that  very  circumstance,  as 
they  are  too  well  acquainted  with  the  actors  and  pieces  to  need  a 
prompter.  They  are  not  accidental  spectators,  but  constant  visitors, 
and  may  be  considered  as  behind  the  scenes. 

I  saw  three  very  clever  comic  actors  at  the  Theatre  des  Varietes 
on  the  Boulevards,  all  quite  different  from  each  other,  but  quite 
French.  One  was  Le  Peintre,  who  acted  a  master-printer ;  and  he 
was  a  master-printer,  so  bare,  so  dingy,  and  so  wan,  that  he  might  be 
supposed  to  have  lived  on  printer's  ink  and  on  a  crust  of  dry  bread 
cut  with  an  oniony  knife.  The  resemblance  to  familiar  life  was  so 
complete  and  so  habitual,  as  to  take  away  the  sense  of  imitation  or 
the  pleasure  of  the  deception.  Another  was  Odry,  (I  believe,)  who 
with  his  blue  coat,  gold-laced  hat,  and  corpulent  belly,  resembled  a 
jolly,  swaggering,  good-humoured  parish-officer,  or  the  boatswain  of 
an  English  man-of-war.  His  eclats  de  rire,  the  giddy  way  in  which  he 
ran  about  the  stage  (like  an  overgrown  schoolboy),  his  extravagant 
noises,  and  his  gabbling  and  face-making  were,  however,  quite  in  the 
French  style.  A  fat,  pursy  Englishman,  acting  the  droll  in  this 
manner,  would  be  thought  drunk  or  mad ;  the  Frenchman  was  only 
gay !  Monsieur  Potier  played  an  old  lover,  and,  till  he  was  drest, 
looked  like  an  old  French  cook-shop  keeper.  The  old  beau  trans- 
pired through  his  finery  afterwards.  But,  though  the  part  was 
admirably  understood,  the  ridicule  was  carried  too  far.  This  person 
was  too  meagre,  his  whisper  too  inaudible,  his  attempts  at  gallantry 
too  feeble  and  vapid,  and  the  whole  too  much  an  exhibition  of  mere 
physical  decay  to  make  the  satire  pleasant.  There  should  be  at  least 
some  revival  of  the  dead  ;  the  taper  of  love  ought  to  throw  out  an 
expiring  gleam.  In  the  song  in  praise  of  Love  he  threw  a  certain 
romantic  air  into  the  words,  warbling  them  in  a  faint  demi-voix,  and 
with  the  last  sigh  of  a  youthful  enthusiasm  fluttering  on  his  lips. 
This  was  charming.  I  could  not  help  taking  notice,  that  during  his 
breakfast,  and  while  he  is  sipping  his  coffee,  he  never  once  ceases 
talking  to  his  valet  the  whole  time.  The  concluding  scene,  in  which, 
after  kneeling  to  his  mistress,  he  is  unable  to  rise  again  without  the 
help  of  his  nephew,  who  surprises  him  in  this  situation,  and  who  is 
also  his  rival,  is  very  amusing.^  The  songs  at  this  theatre  are  very 
pleasing  and  light,  but  so  short,  that  they  are  over  almost  as  soon  as 
begun,  and  before  your  ears  have  a  mouthjul  of  sound.  This  is  very 
tantalizing  to  us;  but  the  French  seem  impatient  to  have  the  dialogue 

*  The  same  circnmstance  literally  happened  to  Gibbon,  though  from  a  different 
cause.  He  fell  on  his  knees  before  a  Swiss  lady  (1  think  a  Mademoiselle 
d'lvernois,)  and  was  so  fat  he  could  not  rise.  She  left  him  in  this  posture,  and 
sent  in  a  servant  to  help  him  up, 

IS3 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

go  on  again,  in  which  they  may  suppose  themselves  to  have  a  share. 
I  wanted  to  see  Brunet,  but  did  not. 

Talma  and  Mademoiselle  Georges  (the  great  props  of  French 
tragedy)  are  not  at  present  here.  Talma  is  at  Lyons,  and  Made- 
moiselle Georges  has  retired  on  n  pique  into  the  country,  in  the 
manner  of  some  English  actresses.  I  had  seen  them  both  formerly, 
and  should  have  liked  to  see  them  again.  Talma  has  little  of  the 
formal  automaton  style  in  his  acting.  He  has  indeed  that  common 
fault  in  his  countrymen  of  speaking  as  if  he  had  swallowed  a  handful 
of  snuff;  but  in  spite  of  this,  there  is  great  emphasis  and  energy  in 
his  enunciation,  a  just  conception,  and  an  impressive  representation  of 
character.  He  comes  more  in  contact  with  nature  than  our  Kemble- 
school,  with  more  of  dignity  than  the  antagonist  one.  There  is  a 
dumb  eloquence  in  his  gestures.  In  (Edipus,  I  remember  his  raising 
his  hands  above  his  head,  as  if  some  appalling  weight  were  falling  on 
him  to  crush  him  ;  and  in  the  Philoctetes,  the  expression  of  excruciating 
pain  was  of  that  mixed  mental  and  physical  kind,  which  is  so 
irresistibly  affecting  in  reading  the  original  Greek  play,  which  Racine 
has  paraphrased  very  finely.  The  sounds  of  his  despair  and  the 
complaints  of  his  desolate  situation  were  so  thrilling,  that  you  might 
almost  fancy  you  heard  the  wild  waves  moan  an  answer  to  them. 
Mademoiselle  Georges  (who  gave  recitations  in  London  in  1817) 
was,  at  the  time  I  saw  her,  a  very  remarkable  person.  She  was 
exceedingly  beautiful,  and  exceedingly  fat.  Her  fine  handsome 
features  had  the  regularity  of  an  antique  statue,  with  the  roundness 
and  softness  of  infancy.  Her  well-proportioned  arms  (swelled  out 
into  the  largest  dimensions)  tapered  down  to  a  delicate  baby-hand. 
With  such  a  disadvantage  there  was  no  want  of  grace  or  flexibility  in 
her  movements.  Her  voice  had  also  great  sweetness  and  compass. 
It  either  sunk  into  the  softest  accents  of  tremulous  plaintiveness,  or 
rose  in  thunder.  The  effect  was  surprising ;  and  one  was  not 
altogether  reconciled  to  it  at  first.  She  plays  at  the  Odeon,  and  has 
a  rival  at  the  Theatre  Fran5ais,  Madame  Paradol,  who  is  very  like 
her  in  person.  She  is  an  immense  woman ;  when  I  saw  her,  I 
thought  it  was  Mademoiselle  Georges  fallen  away !  There  are  some 
other  tragic  actresses  here,  with  the  prim  airs  of  a  French  milliner 
forty  years  ago,  the  hardiesse  of  a  battered  gou-vernante,  and  the  brazen 
lungs  of  a  drum-major.  Mademoiselle  Duchesnois  I  have  not  had 
an  opportunity  of  seeing. 


154 


THROUGH   FRANCE   AND   ITALY 


CHAPTER  X 

Paris  is  a  beast  of  a  city  to  be  in — to  those  who  cannot  get  out  of  it. 
Rousseau  said  well,  that  all  the  time  he  was  in  it,  he  was  only  trying 
how  he  should  leave  it.  It  would  still  bear  Rabelais'  double  etymo- 
logyof  Par-ris  and  Lutetia.^  There  is  not  a  place  in  it  where  you 
can  set  your  foot  in  peace  or  comfort,  unless  you  can  take  refuge  in 
one  of  their  hotels,  where  you  are  locked  up  as  in  an  old-fashioned 
citadel,  without  any  of  the  dignity  of  romance.  Stir  out  of  It,  and 
you  are  in  danger  of  being  run  over  every  instant.  Either  you  must 
be  looking  behind  you  the  whole  time,  so  as  to  be  in  perpetual  fear  of 
their  hackney-coaches  and  cabriolets ;  or,  if  you  summon  resolution, 
and  put  off  the  evil  to  the  last  moment,  they  come  up  against  you 
with  a  sudden  acceleration  of  pace  and  a  thundering  noise,  that 
dislocates  your  nervous  system,  till  you  are  brought  to  yourself  by 
having  the  same  startling  process  repeated.  Fancy  yourself  in 
London  with  the  footpath  taken  away,  so  that  you  are  forced  to 
walk  along  the  middle  of  the  streets  with  a  dirty  gutter  running 
through  them,  fighting  your  way  through  coaches,  waggons,  and  hand- 
carts trundled  along  by  large  mastiff-dogs,  with  the  houses  twice  as 
high,  greasy  holes  for  shop-windows,  and  piles  of  wood,  green-stalls, 
and  wheelbarrows  placed  at  the  doors,  and  the  contents  of  wash-hand 
basins  pouring  out  of  a  dozen  stories — fancy  all  this  and  worse,  and, 
with  a  change  of  scene,  you  are  in  Paris.  The  continual  panic  in 
which  the  passenger  is  kept,  the  alarm  and  the  escape  from  it,  the 
anger  and  the  laughter  at  it,  must  have  an  effect  on  the  Parisian 
character,  and  tend  to  make  it  the  whiffling,  skittish,  snappish, 
volatile,  inconsequential,  unmeaning  thing  it  is.  The  coachmen 
nearly  drive  over  you  in  the  streets,  because  they  would  not  mind 
being  driven  over  themselves — that  is,  they  would  have  no  fear  of  it 
the  moment  before,  and  would  forget  it  the  moment  after.  If  an 
Englishman  turns  round,  is  angry,  and  complains,  he  is  laughed  at  as 
a  blockhead ;  and  you  must  submit  to  be  rode  over  in  your  national 
character.  A  horseman  makes  his  horse  curvet  and  capriole  right 
before  you,  because  he  has  no  notion  how  an  English  lady,  who  is 
passing,  can  be  nervous.  They  run  up  against  you  in  the  street  out 
of  mere  heedlessness  and  hurry,  and  when  you  expect  to  have  a 
quarrel  (as  would  be  the  case  in  England)  make  you  a  low  bow  and 

'  The  fronts  of  the  houses  and  of  many  of  the  finest  buildings  seem  (so  to  speak) 
to  have  been  composed  in  mud,  and  translated  into  stone — so  little  projection, 
relief,  or  airiness  have  they.     They  have  a  look  of  being  stuck  together. 

I5S 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

slip  on  one  side,  to  shew  their  politeness.  The  very  walk  of  the 
Parisians,  that  light,  jerking,  fidgetting  trip  on  which  they  pride 
themselves,  and  think  it  grace  and  spirit,  is  the  effect  of  the  awkward 
construction  of  their  streets,  or  of  the  round,  flat,  slippery  stones,  over 
which  you  are  obliged  to  make  your  way  on  tiptoe,  as  over  a  succes- 
sion of  stepping-stones,  and  where  natural  ease  and  steadiness  are  out 
of  the  question.  On  the  same  principle,  French  women  shew  their 
legs  (it  is  a  pity,  for  they  are  often  handsome,  and  a  stolen  glimpse  of 
them  would  sometimes  be  charming)  sooner  than  get  draggle-tailed; 
and  you  see  an  old  French  beau  generally  walk  like  a  crab  nearly 
sideways,  from  having  been  so  often  stuck  up  in  a  lateral  position 
between  a  coach-wheel,  that  threatened  the  wholeness  of  his  bones, 
and  a  stone-wall  that  might  endanger  the  cleanliness  of  his  person. 
In  winter,  you  are  splashed  all  over  with  the  nnud;  in  summer,  you 
are  knocked  down  with  the  smells.  If  you  pass  along  the  middle  of 
the  street,  you  are  hurried  out  of  breath  ;  if  on  one  side,  you  must 
pick  your  way  no  less  cautiously.  Paris  is  a  vast  pile  of  tall  and 
dirty  alleys,  of  slaughter-houses  and  barbers'  shops — an  immense 
suburb  huddled  together  within  the  walls  so  close,  that  you  cannot 
see  the  loftiness  of  the  buildings  for  the  narrowness  of  the  streets,  and 
where  all  that  is  fit  to  live  in,  and  best  worth  looking  at,  is  turned  out 
upon  the  quays,  the  boulevards,  and  their  immediate  vicinity. 

Paris,  where  you  can  get  a  sight  of  it,  is  really  fine.  The  view 
from  the  bridges  is  even  more  imposing  and  picturesque  than  ours, 
though  the  bridges  themselves  and  the  river  are  not  to  compare  with 
the  Thames,  or  with  the  bridges  that  cross  it.  The  mass  of  public 
buildings  and  houses,  as  seen  from  the  Pont  Neuf,  rises  around  you  on 
either  hand,  whether  you  look  up  or  down  the  river,  in  huge,  aspiring, 
tortuous  ridges,  and  produces  a  solidity  of  impression  and  a  fantastic 
confusion  not  easy  to  reconcile.  The  clearness  of  the  air,  the  glitter- 
ing sunshine,  and  the  cool  shadows  add  to  the  enchantment  of  the 
scene.  In  a  bright  day,  it  dazzles  the  eye  like  a  steel  mirror.  The 
view  of  London  is  more  open  and  extensive  ;  it  lies  lower,  and 
stretches  out  in  a  lengthened  line  of  dusky  magnificence.  After  all, 
it  is  an  ordinary  town,  a  place  of  trade  and  business.  Paris  is  a 
splendid  vision,  a  fabric  dug  out  of  the  earth,  and  hanging  over  it. 
The  stately,  old-fashioned  shapes  and  jutting  angles  of  the  houses 
give  it  the  venerable  appearance  of  antiquity,  while  their  texture  and 
colour  clothe  it  in  a  robe  of  modern  splendour.  It  looks  like  a  col- 
lection of  palaces,  or  of  ruins!  They  have,  however,  no  single 
building  that  towers  above  and  crowns  the  whole,  like  St.  Paul's, 
(the  Pantheon  is  a  stiff,  unjolnted  mass  to  it) — nor  is  Notre-Dame  at 
all  to  be  compared  to  Westminster-Abbey  with  its  Poets'  Corner,  that 

156 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

urn  full  of  noble  English  ashes,  where  Lord  Byron  was  ashamed  to 
lie.  The  Chamber  of  Deputies  (formerly  the  residence  of  the  Dukes 
of  Bourbon)  presents  a  brilliant  frontispiece,  but  it  is  a  kind  of 
architectural  abstraction,  standing  apart,  and  unconnected  with  every 
thing  else,  not  burrowing,  like  our  House  of  Commons  (that  true  and 
original  model  of  a  Representative  Assembly  House  ! )  almost  under- 
ground, and  lost  among  the  rabble  of  streets.  The  Tuileries  is  also  a 
very  noble  pile  of  buildings,  if  not  a  superb  piece  of  architecture.  It 
is  a  little  heavy  and  monotonous,  a  habitation  for  the  bodies  or  for 
the  minds  of  Kings,  but  it  goes  on  in  a  laudable  jog-trot,  right-lined 
repetition  of  itself,  without  much  worth  or  sense  in  any  single  part  (like 
the  accumulation  of  greatness  in  an  hereditary  dynasty).  At  least  it 
ought  to  be  finished  (for  the  omen's  sake),  to  make  the  concatenation 
of  ideas  inviolable  and  complete  !  The  Luxembourg,  the  Hospital 
of  Invalids,  the  Hall  of  Justice,  and  innumerable  other  buildings, 
whether  public  or  private,  are  far  superior  to  any  of  the  kind  we  have 
in  London,  except  Whitehall,  on  which  Inigo  Jones  laid  his  graceful 
hands  ;  or  Newgate,  where  we  English  shine  equally  in  architecture, 
morals,  and  legislation.  Our  palaces  (within  the  bills  of  mortality) 
are  dog-holes,  or  receptacles  for  superannuated  Abigails,  and  tabbies 
of  either  species.  Windsor  (whose  airy  heights  are  placed  beyond 
them)  is,  indeed,  a  palace  for  a  king  to  inhabit,  or  a  poet  to  describe, 
or  to  turn  the  head  of  a  prose-writer.  ( See  Gray's  Ode,  and  the 
famous  passage  in  Burke  about  it.)  Buonaparte's  Pillar,  in  the  Place 
Vendorae,  cast  in  bronze,  and  with  excellent  sculptures,  made  of  the 
cannon  taken  from  the  Allies  in  their  long  march  to  Paris,  is  a  fine 
copy  of  the  antique.  A  white  flag  flaps  over  it.  I  should  like  to 
write  these  lines  at  the  bottom  of  it.  Probably,  Mr.  Jerdan  will 
know  where  to  find  them. 

'  The  painful  warrior,  famoused  for  fight 
After  a  thousand  victories  once  foiled. 
Is  from  the  book  of  honour  razed  quite. 

And  all  the  rest  forgot,  for  wrhich  he  toiled.' 

The  new  streets  and  squares  in  this  neighbourhood  are  also  on  an 
improved  plan — there  is  a  double  side-path  to  walk  on,  the  shops  are 
more  roomy  and  richer,  and  you  can  stop  to  look  at  them  in  safety. 
This  is  as  it  should  be — all  we  ask  is  common  sense.  Without  this 
practical  concession  on  their  parts,  in  the  dispute  whether  Paris  is  not 
better  than  London,  it  would  seem  to  remain  a  question,  whether  it  is 
better  to  walk  on  a  mall  or  in  a  gutter,  whether  airy  space  is  preferable 
to  fetid  confinement,  or  whether  solidity  and  show  together  are  not 

'57 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

better  than  mere  frippery  ?  But  for  a  real  West  End,  for  a  solid 
substantial  cut  into  the  heart  of  a  metropolis,  commend  me  to  the 
streets  and  squares  on  each  side  of  the  top  of  Oxford-street — with 
Grosvenor  and  Portman  squares  at  one  end,  and  Cavendish  and 
Hanover  at  the  other,  linked  together  by  Bruton,  South-Audley,  and 
a  hundred  other  fine  old  streets,  with  a  broad  airy  pavement,  a  display 
of  comfort,  of  wealth,  of  taste,  and  rank  all  about  you,  each  house 
seeming  to  have  been  the  residence  of  some  respectable  old  English 
family  for  half  a  century  past,  and  with  Portland-place  looking  out 
towards  Hampstead  and  Highgate,  with  their  hanging  gardens  and 
lofty  terraces,  and  Primrose-hill  nestling  beneath  them,  in  green, 
pastoral  luxury,  the  delight  of  the  Cockney,  the  aversion  of  Sir 
Walter  and  his  merrymen  !  My  favourite  walk  in  Paris  is  to  the 
Gardens  of  the  Tuileries.  Paris  differs  from  London  in  this  respect, 
that  it  has  no  suburbs.  The  moment  you  are  beyond  the  barriers,  you 
are  in  the  country  to  all  intents  and  purposes.  You  have  not  to  wade 
through  ten  miles  of  straggling  houses  to  get  a  breath  of  fresh  air,  or  a 
peep  at  nature.  It  is  a  blessing  to  counterbalance  the  inconveniences 
of  large  cities  built  within  walls,  that  they  do  not  extend  far  beyond 
them.  The  superfluous  population  is  pared  off,  like  the  pie-crust  by 
the  circumference  of  the  dish — even  on  the  court  side,  not  a  hundred 
yards  from  the  barrier  of  Neuilly,  you  see  an  old  shepherd  tending 
his  flock,  with  his  dog  and  his  crook  and  sheep-skin  cloak,  just  as  if  it 
were  a  hundred  miles  off,  or  a  hundred  years  ago.  It  was  so  twenty 
years  ago.  I  went  again  to  see  if  it  was  the  same  yesterday.  The  old 
man  was  gone  ;  but  there  was  his  flock  by  the  road-side,  and  a  dog 
and  a  boy,  grinning  with  white  healthy  teeth,  like  one  of  Murillo's 
beggar-boys.  It  was  a  bright  frosty  noon ;  and  the  air  was,  in  a 
manner,  vitreous,  from  its  clearness,  its  coolness,  and  hardness  to  the 
feeling.  The  road  I  speak  of,  frequented  by  English  jockeys  and 
French  market-women,  riding  between  panniers,  leads  down  to  the 
Bois  de  Boulogne  on  the  left,  a  delicious  retreat,  covered  with  copse- 
wood  for  fuel,  and  intersected  by  green-sward  paths  and  shady  alleys, 
running  for  miles  in  opposite  directions,  and  terminating  in  a  point  of 
inconceivable  brightness.  Some  of  the  woods  on  the  borders  of 
Wiltshire  and  Hampshire  present  exactly  the  same  appearance,  with 
the  same  delightful  sylvan  paths  through  them,  and  are  covered  in 
summer  with  hyacinths  and  primroses,  sweetening  the  air,  enamelling 
the  ground,  and  with  nightingales  loading  every  bough  with  rich 
music.  It  was  winter  when  I  used  to  wander  through  the  Bois  de 
Boulogne  formerly,  dreaming  of  fabled  truth  and  good.  Somehow 
my  thoughts  and  feet  still  take  their  old  direction,  though  hailed  by 
no  friendly  greetings  : — 
158 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

'  What  though  the  radiance  which  was  once  so  bright. 
Be  now  for  ever  vanished  from  my  sight ; 
Though  nothing  can  bring  back  the  hour 
Of  glory  in  the  grass — of  splendour  in  the  flower ; ' — 

yet  the  fever  and  the  agony  of  hope  is  over  too,  '  the  burden  and  the 
mystery  ; '  the  past  circles  my  head,  like  a  golden  dream ;  it  is  a 
fine  fragment  of  an  unfinished  poem  or  history ;  and  the  '  worst,'  as 
Shakspeare  says,  '  returns  to  good !  '  I  cannot  say  I  am  at  all 
annoyed  (as  I  expected)  at  seeing  the  Bourbon  court-carriages  issuing 
out  with  a  flourish  of  trumpets  and  a  troop  of  horse.  It  looks  like  a 
fantoccini  procession,  a  State  mockery.  The  fine  moral  lesson,  the 
soul  of  greatness,  is  wanting.  The  legitimate  possessors  of  royal 
power  seem  to  be  playing  at  Make-Believe  ;  the  upstarts  and  impostors 
are  the  true  Simon  Pures  and  genuine  realities.  Bonaparte  mounted 
a  throne  from  the  top  of  the  pillar  of  Victory.  People  ask  who 
Charles  x.  is  ?     But  to  return  from  this  digression. 

Through  the  arch-way  of  the  Tuileries,  at  the  end  of  the  Champs 
Elysees,  you  see  the  Barrier  of  Neuilly,  like  a  thing  of  air,  diminished 
by  a  fairy  perspective.  The  effect  is  exquisitely  light  and  magical. 
You  pass  through  the  arch-way,  and  are  in  the  gardens  themselves. 
Milton  should  have  written  those  lines  abroad,  and  in  this  very  spot — 

'  And  bring  with  thee  retired  Leisure, 
That  in  trim  gardens  takes  his  pleasure.' 

True  art  is  '  nature  to  advantage  drest ; '  it  is  here  a  powdered  beau. 
The  prodigality  of  littleness,  the  excess  of  ornament,  the  superficial 
gloss,  the  studied  neatness,  are  carried  to  a  pitch  of  the  romantic. 
The  Luxembourg  gardens  are  more  extensive,  and  command  a  finer 
view ;  but  are  not  kept  in  the  same  order,  are  dilapidated  and 
desultory.  This  is  an  enclosure  of  all  sweet  sights  and  smells,  a 
concentration  of  elegance.  The  rest  of  the  world  is  barbarous  to 
this  '  paradise  of  dainty  devices,'  where  the  imagination  is  spell-bound. 
It  is  a  perfectly-finished  miniature  set  in  brilliants.  It  is  a  toilette  for 
nature  to  dress  itself;  where  every  flower  seems  a  narcissus !  The 
smooth  gravel-walks,  the  basin  of  water,  the  swans  (they  might  be  of 
wax),  the  golden  fishes,  the  beds  of  flowers,  chineasters,  larkspur, 
geraniums,  bright  marigolds,  mignonette  ('the  Frenchman's  darling  ') 
scenting  the  air  with  a  faint  luscious  perfume,  the  rows  of  orange- 
trees  in  boxes,  blooming  verdure  and  vegetable  gold,  the  gleaming 
statues,  the  raised  terraces,  the  stately  avenues  of  trees,  and  the  gray 
cumbrous  towers  of  the  Tuileries  overlooking  the  whole,  give  an 
effect  of  enchantment  to  the  scene.     This  and  the  man  in  black  by 

'59 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

Titian,  in  the  Louvre  just  by  (whose  features  form  a  sombre  pendant 
to  the  gay  parterres)  are  the  two  things  in  Paris  I  like  best.  I 
should  never  tire  of  walking  in  the  one,  or  of  looking  at  the  other. 
Yet  no  two  things  can  be  more  opposite.^  The  one  is  the  essence  of 
French,  the  other  of  Italian  art.  By  following  the  windings  of  the 
river  in  this  direction,  you  come  to  Passy — a  delightful  village,  half- 
way to  St.  Cloud,  which  is  situated  on  a  rich  eminence  that  looks 
down  on  Paris  and  the  Seine,  and  so  on  to  Versailles,  where  the 
English  reside.  I  have  not  been  to  see  them,  nor  they  me.  The 
whole  road  is  interspersed  with  villas,  and  lined  with  rows  of  trees. 
This  last  is  a  common  feature  in  foreign  scenery.  Whether  from  the 
general  love  of  pleasurable  sensations,  or  from  the  greater  warmth  of 
southern  climates  making  the  shelter  from  the  heat  of  the  sun  more 
necessary,  or  from  the  closeness  of  the  cities  making  a  promenade 
round  them  more  desirable,  the  approach  to  almost  all  the  principal 
towns  abroad  is  indicated  by  shady  plantations,  and  the  neighbourhood 
is  a  succession  of  groves  and  arbours. 

The  Champ  de  Mars  (the  French  Runnymede)  is  on  the  opposite 
side  of  the  river,  a  little  above  the  Champs  Elysees.  It  is  an  oblong 
square  piece  of  ground  immediately  in  front  of  the  Ecole  Militaire, 
covered  with  sand  and  gravel,  and  bare  of  trees  or  any  other  ornament. 
It  is  left  a  blank,  as  it  should  be.  In  going  to  and  returning  from  it, 
you  pass  the  fine  old  Invalid  Hospital,  with  its  immense  gilded 
cupola  and  outer-walls  overgrown  with  vines,  and  meet  the  crippled 
veterans  who  have  lost  an  arm  or  leg,  fighting  the  battles  of  the 
Revolution,  with  a  bit  of  white  ribbon  sticking  in  their  button-holes, 
which  must  gnaw  into  their  souls  worse  than  the  wounds  in  their 
flesh,  if  Frenchmen  did  not  alike  disregard  the  wounds  both  of  their 
bodies  and  minds. 

The  Jardin  des  Plantes,  situated  at  the  other  extremity  of  Paris, 
on  the  same  side  of  the  river,  is  well  worth  the  walk  there.  It  is 
delightfully  laid  out,  with  that  mixture  of  art  and  nature,  of  the 
useful  and  ornamental,  in  which  the  French  excel  all  the  world. 
Every  plant  of  every  quarter  of  the  globe  is  here,  growing  in  the 
open  air  ;  and  labelled  with  its  common  and  its  scientific  name  on  it. 
A  prodigious  number  of  animals,  wild  and  tame,  are  enclosed  in 
separate  divisions,  feeding  on  the  grass  or  shrubs,  and  leading  a  life 
of  learned  leisure.  At  least,  they  have  as  good  a  title  to  this  ironical 
compliment  as  most  members  of  colleges  and  seminaries  of  learning ; 
for  they  grow  fat  and  sleek  on  it.  They  have  a  great  variety  of  the 
simious  tribe.  Is  this  necessary  in  France  ?  The  collection  of  wild 
beasts  is  not  equal  to  our  Exeter-'Change ;  nor  are  they  confined  in 

'  They  are  as  different  as  Mr.  Moore's  verses  and  an  epic  poem. 

i6o 


THROUGH   FRANCE   AND  ITALY 

iron  cages  out  of  doors  under  the  shade  of  their  native  trees  (as  I  was 
told),  but  shut  up  in  a  range  of  very  neatly-constructed  and  very 
ill-aired  apartments. 

I  have  already  mentioned  the  P^re  la  Chaise — the  Catacombs  I 
have  not  seen,  nor  have  I  the  least  wish.  But  I  have  been  to  the  top 
of  Mont-Martre,  and  intend  to  visit  it  again.  The  air  there  is  truly 
vivifying,  and  the  view  inspiring.  Paris  spreads  out  under  your  feet 
on  one  side,  '  with  glistering  spires  and  pinnacles  adorned,'  and 
appears  to  fill  the  intermediate  space,  to  the  very  edge  of  the  horizon, 
with  a  sea  of  hazy  or  sparkling  magnificence.  All  the  different 
striking  points  are  marked  as  on  a  map.  London  nowhere  presents 
the  same  extent  or  integrity  of  appearance.  This  is  either  because 
there  is  no  place  so  near  to  London  that  looks  down  upon  it  from  the 
same  elevation,  or  because  Paris  is  better  calculated  for  a  panoramic 
view  from  the  loftier  height  and  azure  tone  of  its  buildings.  Its 
form  also  approaches  nearer  to  a  regular  square.  London,  seen 
either  from  Highgate  and  Hampstead,  or  from  the  Dulwich  side, 
looks  like  a  long  black  wreath  of  smoke,  with  the  dome  of  St.  Paul's 
floating  in  it.  The  view  on  the  other  side  Mont-Martre  is  also  fine, 
and  an  extraordinary  contrast  to  the  Paris  side — it  is  clear,  brown, 
flat,  distant,  completely  rustic,  full  of  '  low  farms  and  pelting  villages.' 
You  see  St.  Denis,  where  the  Kings  of  France  lie  buried,  and  can 
fancy  you  see  Montmorenci,  where  Rousseau  lived,  whose  pen  was 
near  being  as  fatal  to  their  race  as  the  scythe  of  death.  On  this 
picturesque  site,  which  so  near  London  would  be  enriched  with  noble 
mansions,  there  are  only  a  few  paltry  lodging-houses  and  tottering 
wind-mills.  So  little  prone  are  the  Parisians  to  extricate  themselves 
from  the  sty  of  Epicurus  ;  so  fond  of  cabinets  of  society,  of  playing  at 
dominoes  in  the  coffee-houses,  and  of  practising  the  art  de  briller  dans 
les  Salons ;  so  fond  are  they  of  this,  that  even  when  the  Allies  were 
at  Mont-Martre,  they  ran  back  to  be  the  first  to  give  an  imposing 
account  of  the  attack,  to  finish  the  game  of  the  Revolution,  and  make 
the  iloge  of  the  new  order  of  things.  They  shew  you  the  place 
where  the  affair  with  the  Prussians  happened,  as — a  brilliant  exploit. 
When  will  they  be  no  longer  liable  to  such  intrusions  as  these,  or  to 
such  a  result  from  them  ?  When  they  get  rid  of  that  eternal  smile 
upon  their  countenances,  or  of  that  needle-and-thread  face,  that  is 
twisted  into  any  shape  by  every  circumstance  that  happens,i  or  when 

'  The  French  physiognomy  is  like  a  telegraphic  machine,  ready  to  shift  and 
form  new  combinations  every  moment.  It  is  commonly  too  light  and  variable 
for  repose  ;  it  is  careless,  indifferent,  but  not  sunk  in  indolence,  nor  wedded  to 
ease  :  as  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  restless,  rapid,  extravagant,  without  depth  or 
force.     Is  it  not  the  same  with  their  feelings,  which  are  alike  incapable  of  a  habit 

VOL.  IX.  :  L  i6i 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

ihey  can  write  such  lines  as  the  following,  or  even  understand  their 
meaning,  their  force  or  beauty,  as  a  charm  to  purge  their  soil  of 
insolent  foes  — theirs  only,  because  the  common  foes  of  man  ! 

But  let  thy  spiders  that  suck  up  thy  venom. 
And  heavy-gaited  toads,  lie  in  their  way ; 
Doing  annoyance  to  the  feet  of  them 
That  with  usurping  steps  do  trample  thee ; 
Yield  stinging-nettles  to  mine  enemies  ; 
And  when  they  from  thy  bosom  pluck  a  flower. 
Guard  it,  I  pray  thee,  with  a  lurking  adder. 
Whose  double  tongue  may,  with  a  mortal  touch, 
Throw  death  upon  thy  baffled  enemies.' 

No  Parisian's  sides  can  '  bear  the  beating  of  so  strong  a  passion,'  as 
these  lines  contain ;  nor  have  they  it  in  them  to  '  endure  to  the  end 
for  liberty's  sake.'  They  can  never  hope  to  defend  the  political 
principles  which  they  learnt  from  us,  till  they  understand  our  poetry, 
both  of  which  originate  in  the  same  cause,  the  strength  of  our  livers 
and  the  stoutness  of  our  hearts. 


CHAPTER   XI 

Statuary  does  not  affect  me  like  painting.  I  am  not,  I  allow,  a 
fair  judge,  having  paid  a  great  deal  more  attention  to  the  one  than  to 
the  other.  Nor  did  I  ever  think  of  the  first  as  a  profession  ;  and  it 
is  that  perhaps  which  adds  the  sting  to  our  love  of  excellence,  the 
hope  of  attaining  it  ourselves  in  any  particular  walk.  We  strain  our 
faculties  to  the  utmost  to  conceive  of  what  is  most  exquisite  in  any 
art  to  which  we  devote  ourselves,  and  are  doubly  sensitive  to  it  when 
we  see  it  attained.  Knowledge  may  often  beget  indifference,  but 
here  it  begets  zeal.  Our  affections  kindled  and  projected  forward  by 
the  ardour  of  pursuit,  we  come  to  the  contemplation  of  truth  and 
beauty  with  the  passionate  feeling  of  lovers ;  the  examples  of 
acknowledged  excellence  before  us  are  the  steps  by  which  we  scale 
the  path  of  distinction,  the  spur  which  urges  us  on  ;  and  the  admira- 
tion which  we  fondly  cherish  for  them  is  the  seed  of  future  fame. 

of  quiescence,  or  of  persevering  action  or  passion  ?  It  seems  so  to  me.  Their 
freedom  from  any  tendency  to  drunkenness,  to  indulge  in  its  dreamy  stupor,  or 
give  way  to  its  incorrigible  excesses,  confirms  by  analogy  the  general  view  of  their 
character.  I  do  not  bring  this  as  an  accusation  against  them,  I  ask  if  it  is  not  the 
fact ;  and  if  it  will  not  account  for  many  things  observable  in  them,  good,  bad, 
and  indifferent?  In  a  word,  mobility  without  momentum  solves  the  whole  riddle 
of  the  French  character. 
162 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

No  wonder  that  the  youthful  student  dwells  with  delight  and  rapture 
on  the  finished  works  of  art,  when  they  are  to  his  heated  fancy  the 
pledge  and  foretaste  of  immortality ;  when  at  every  successful  stroke 
of  imitation  he  is  ready  to  cry  out  with  Correggio — '  I  also  am  a 
painter !  ' — when  every  heightening  flush  of  his  enthusiasm  is  a  fresh 
assurance  to  him  of  congenial  powers — and  when  overlooking  the 
million  of  failures  (that  all  the  world  have  forgot)  or  names  of  inferior 
note,  Raphael,  Titian,  Guide,  Salvator  are  each  another  self.  Happy 
union  of  thoughts  and  destinies,  lovelier  than  the  hues  of  the  rainbow ! 
Why  can  it  not  last  and  span  our  brief  date  of  life  ? 

One  reason,  however,  why  I  prefer  painting  to  sculpture  is,  that 
painting  is  more  like  nature.  It  gives  one  entire  and  satisfactory 
view  of  an  object  at  a  particular  moment  of  time,  which  sculpture 
never  does.  It  is  not  the  same  in  reality,  I  grant ;  but  it  is  the  same 
in  appearance,  which  is  all  we  are  concerned  with.  A  picture  wants 
solidity,  a  statue  wants  colour.  But  we  see  the  want  of  colour  as  a 
palpably  glaring  defect,  and  we  do  not  see  the  want  of  solidity,  the 
effects  of  which  to  the  spectator  are  supplied  by  light  and  shadow. 
A  picture  is  as  perfect  an  imitation  of  nature  as  is  conveyed  by  a 
looking-glass ;  which  is  all  that  the  eye  can  require,  for  it  is  all  it  can 
take  in  for  the  time  being.  A  fine  picture  resembles  a  real  living 
man ;  the  finest  statue  in  the  world  can  only  resemble  a  man  turned 
to  stone.  The  one  is  an  image,  the  other  a  cold  abstraction  of 
nature.  It  leaves  out  half  the  visible  impression.  There  is  therefore 
something  a  little  shocking  and  repulsive  in  this  art  to  the  common 
eye,  that  requires  habit  and  study  to  reconcile  us  completely  to  it,  or 
to  make  it  an  object  of  enthusiastic  devotion.  It  does  not  amalgamate 
kindly  and  at  once  with  our  previous  perceptions  and  associations. 
As  to  the  comparative  difficulty  or  skill  implied  in  the  exercise  of 
each  art,  I  cannot  pretend  to  judge :  but  I  confess  it  appears  to  me 
that  statuary  must  be  the  most  trying  to  the  faculties.  The  idea  of 
moulding  a  limb  into  shape,  so  as  to  be  right  from  every  point  of 
view,  fairly  makes  my  head  turn  round,  and  seems  to  me  to  enhance 
the  difiiculty  to  an  infinite  degree.  There  is  not  only  the  extra- 
ordinary circumspection  and  precision  required  (enough  to  distract 
the  strongest  mind,  as  I  should  think),  but  if  the  chisel,  working  in 
such  untractable  materials,  goes  a  hair's-breadth  beyond  the  mark, 
there  is  no  remedying  it.  It  is  not  as  in  painting,  where  you  may 
make  a  thousand  blots,  and  try  a  thousand  experiments,  efface  them 
all  one  after  the  other,  and  begin  anew :  the  hand  always  trembles  on 
the  brink  of  a  precipice,  and  one  step  over  is  irrecoverable.  There 
is  a  story  told,  however,  of  Hogarth  and  Roubilliac,  which,  as  far  as 
it   goes,  may  be  thought  to  warrant   a   contrary  inference.     These 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

artists  difFered  about  the  difficulty  of  their  several  arts,  and  agreed  to 
decide  it  by  exchanging  the  implements  of  their  profession  with  each 
other,  and  seeing  which  could  do  best  without  any  regular  prepara- 
tion. Hogarth  took  a  piece  of  clay,  and  succeeded  in  moulding  a 
very  tolerable  bust  of  his  friend  ;  but  when  Roubilliac,  being  furnished 
with  paints  and  brushes,  attempted  to  daub  a  likeness  of  a  human 
face,  he  could  make  absolutely  nothing  out,  and  was  obliged  to  own 
himself  defeated.  Yet  Roubilliac  was  a  man  of  talent,  and  no  mean 
artist.  It  was  he  who,  on  returning  from  Rome  where  he  had 
studied  the  works  of  Bernini  and  the  antique,  and  on  going  to  see  his 
own  performances  in  Westminster  Abbey,  exclaimed,  that  '  they 
looked  like  tobacco-pipes,  by  G — d ! '  What  sin  had  this  man  or 
his  parents  committed,  that  he  should  forfeit  the  inalienable  birth- 
right of  every  Frenchman — imperturbable,  invincible  selfsufficiency  ? 
The  most  pleasing  and  natural  application  of  sculpture  is,  perhaps,  to 
the  embellishment  of  churches  and  the  commemoration  of  the  dead. 
I  don't  know  whether  they  were  Roubilliac's  or  not,  but  I  remember 
seeing  many  years  ago  in  Westminster  Abbey  (in  the  part  that  is  at 
present  shut  up)  two  figures  of  angels  bending  over  a  tomb,  that 
affected  me  much  in  the  same  manner  that  these  lines  of  Lord 
Byron's  have  done  since — 

'  And  when  I  think  that  his  immortal  wings 
Shall  one  day  hover  o'er  the  sepulchre 
Of  the  poor  child  of  clay  that  so  adored  him 
As  he  adores  the  highest.  Death  becomes 
Less  terrible ! ' 

It  appears  to  me  that  sculpture,  though  not  proper  to  express 
health  or  life  or  motion,  accords  admirably  with  the  repose  of  the 
tomb ;  and  that  it  cannot  be  better  employed  than  in  arresting  the 
fleeting  dust  in  imperishable  forms,  and  in  embodying  a  lifeless 
shadow.  Painting,  on  the  contrary,  from  what  I  have  seen  of  it  in 
Catholic  countries,  seems  to  be  out  of  its  place  on  the  walls  of 
churches  ;  it  has  a  flat  and  flimsy  effect  contrasted  with  the  solidity 
of  the  building,  and  its  rich  flaunting  colours  harmonize  but  ill  with 
the  solemnity  and  gloom  of  the  surrounding  scene. 

I  would  go  a  pilgrimage  to  see  the  St.  Peter  Martyr,  or  the 
Jacob's  Dream  by  Rembrandt,  or  Raphael's  Cartoons,  or  some  of 
Claude's  landscapes ; — but  I  would  not  go  far  out  of  my  way  to  see 
the  Apollo,  or  the  Venus,  or  the  Laocoon.  I  never  cared  for  them 
much  ;  nor,  till  I  saw  the  Elgin  Marbles,  could  I  tell  why,  except 
for  the  reason  just  given,  which  does  not  apply  to  these  particular 
statues,  but  to  statuary  in  general.     These  are  still  to  be  found  in 

164 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

Childe  Harold's  Pilgrimage,  with  appropriate  descriptive  stanzas 
appended  to  them  ;  i  but  they  are  no  longer  to  be  found  in  the  Louvre, 
nor  do  the  French  seem  to  know  they  ever  were  there.  Out  of  sight, 
out  of  mind,  is  a  happy  motto.  What  is  not  French,  either  as 
done  by  themselves,  or  as  belonging  to  them,  is  of  course  not  worth 
thinking  about.  Be  this  as  it  may,  the  place  is  fairly  emptied  out. 
Hardly  a  trace  remains  of  the  old  Collection  to  remind  you  of  what 
is  gone.  A  short  list  includes  all  of  distinguished  excellence — the 
admirable  bust  of  Vitellius,  the  fine  fragment  of  Inopus,  a  clothed 
statue  of  Augustus,  the  full-zoned  Venus,  and  the  Diana  and  Fawn, 
whose  light,  airy  grace  seems  to  have  mocked  removal.  A  few  more 
are  '  thinly  scattered  to  make  up  a  shew,'  but  the  bulk,  the  main 
body  of  the  Grecian  mythology,  with  the  flower  of  their  warriors 
and  heroes,  were  carried  off  by  the  Chevalier  Canova  on  his 
shoulders,  a  load  for  Hercules  !  The  French  sculptors  have  nothing 
of  their  own  to  shew  for  it  to  fill  up  the  gap.  Like  their  painters, 
their  style  is  either  literal  and  rigid,  or  affected  and  burlesque.  Their 
merit  is  chiefly  confined  to  the  academic  figure  and  anatomical  skill  ; 
if  they  go  beyond  this,  and  wander  into  the  regions  of  expression, 
beauty,  or  grace,  they  are  apt  to  lose  themselves.  The  real  genius 
of  French  sculpture  is  to  be  seen  in  the  curled  wigs  and  swelling 
folds  of  the  draperies  in  the  statues  of  the  age  of  Louis  xiv.  There 
they  shone  unrivalled  and  alone.  They  are  the  best  man-milliners 
and  Jriseurs  in  ancient  or  modern  Europe.  That  praise  cannot  be 
denied  them ;  but  it  should  alarm  them  for  their  other  pretensions. 
I  recollect  an  essay  in  the  Moniteur  some  years  ago  (very  playful  and 
very  well  written)  to  prove  that  a  great  hairdresser  was  a  greater 
character  than  Michael  Angelo  or  Phidias ;    that  his  art  was  more 

^  Lord  Byron  has  merely  taken  up  the  common  cant  of  connoisseurship, 
inflating  it  with  hyperbolical  and  far-fetched  eulogies  of  his  own — not  perceiving 
that  the  Apollo  was  somewhat  of  a  coxcomb,  the  Venus  somewhat  insipid,  and 
that  the  expression  in  the  Laocoon  is  more  of  physical  than  of  mental  agony.  The 
faces  of  the  boys  are,  however,  superlatively  fine.  They  are  convulsed  with  pain, 
yet  fraught  with  feeling.  He  has  made  a  better  hit  in  interpreting  the  downcast 
look  of  the  Dying  Gladiator,  as  denoting  his  insensibility  to  the  noise  and  bustle 
around  him  : — 

'  He  heard  it,  but  he  heeded  not — his  eyes 
Were  with  his  heart,  and  that  was  far  away  ; 
He  reck'd  not  of  the  life  he  lost,  nor  prize, 
But  where  his  rude  hut  by  the  Danube  lay, 
There  were  his  young  barbarians  all  at  play, 
There  was  their  Dacian  mother — he,  their  sire, 
Butcher'd  to  make  a  Roman  holyday — 
All  this  rush'd  with  his  blood — shall  he  expire 
And  unaveng'd  ? — Arise  !  ye  Goths  and  glut  your  ire  ! ' 

165 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

an  invention,  more  a  creation  out  of  nothing,  and  less  a  servile  copy 
of  any  thing  in  nature.  There  was  a  great  deal  of  ingenuity  in  the 
reasoning,  and  I  suspect  more  sincerity  than  the  writer  was  aware  of. 
It  expresses,  I  verily  believe,  the  firm  conviction  of  every  true 
Frenchman.  In  whatever  relates  to  the  flutter  and  caprice  of 
fashion,  where  there  is  no  impulse  but  vanity,  no  limit  but  extrava- 
gance, no  rule  but  want  of  meaning,  they  are  in  their  element,  and 
quite  at  home.  Beyond  that,  they  have  no  style  of  their  own,  and 
are  a  nation  of  second-hand  artists,  poets,  and  philosophers.  Never- 
theless, they  have  Voltaire,  La  Fontaine,  Le  Sage,  Moli^re, 
Rabelais,  and  Montaigne — good  men  and  true,  under  whatever  class 
they  come.  They  have  also  Very  and  Vestris.  This  is  granted. 
Is  it  not  enough  ?  I  should  like  to  know  the  thing  on  the  face  of 
God's  earth  in  which  they  allow  other  nations  to  excel  them.  Nor 
need  their  sculptors  be  afraid  of  turning  their  talents  to  account, 
while  they  can  execute  pieces  of  devotion  for  the  shrines  of  Saints, 
and  classical  equivoques  for  the  saloons  of  the  old  or  new  Noblesse. 

The  foregoing  remarks  are  general.  I  shall  proceed  to  mention 
a  few  exceptions  to,  or  confirmations  of  them  in  their  Expose  ^  of  the 
present  year.  The  Othryadas  luounded  (No.  1870),  by  Legendre 
Heral,  is,  I  think,  the  least  mannered,  and  most  natural.  It  is  a 
huge  figure,  powerful  and  somewhat  clumsy  (with  the  calves  of  the 
legs  as  if  they  had  gaiters  on),  but  it  has  great  power  and  repose  in 
it.  It  seems  as  if,  without  any  effort,  a  blow  from  it  would  crush 
any  antagonist,  and  reminds  one  of  Virgil's  combat  of  Dares  and 
Entellus.  The  form  of  the  head  is  characteristic,  and  there  is  a 
fine  mixture  of  sternness  and  languor  in  the  expression  of  the  features. 
The  sculptor  appears  to  have  had  an  eye  to  the  countenance  of  the 
Dying  Gladiator  ;  and  the  figure,  from  its  ease  and  massiness,  has 
some  resemblance  to  the  Elgin  Marbles.  It  is  a  work  of  great 
merit.  The  statue  of  Othryadas  erecting  the  Trophy  to  his  Companions 
(No.  1774)  is  less  impressive,  and  aims  at  being  more  so.  It  comes 
under  the  head  of  theatrical  art,  that  is  of  French  art  proper.  They 
cannot  long  keep  out  of  this.  They  cannot  resist  an  attitude,  a 
significant  efl^ect.  They  do  not  consider  that  the  definition  of 
Sculpture  is,  or  ought  to  be,  nearly  like  their  own  celebrated  one 

'  Why  do  the  French  confound  the  words  exhibition  and  exposure}  One  of 
which  expresses  what  is  creditable,  and  the  other  what  is  disgracefnl.  Is  it  that 
the  sense  of  vanity  absorbs  every  other  consideration,  turning  the  sense  of  shame, 
in  case  of  exposure,  into  a  source  of  triumph,  and  the  conscious  tingling  feeling  of 
ostentation  in  a  display  of  talent  into  a  flagrant  impropriety  ?  I  do  not  lay  much 
stress  on  this  word-catching,  which  is  a  favourite  mode  of  German  criticism.  We 
say,  for  instance,  indiscriminately,  that  *a  thing  redounds  to  our  credit  or  our 
disgrace.' 
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THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

of  Death — an  eternal  repose !      This  fault  may  in  some  measure  be 
found  with  the   Hercules  recovering   the  body  of  Icarus  from  the  Sea 
(No.  1903),  by  Razzi.     The  body  of  Icarus  can  hardly  be  said  to 
have  found  a  resting-place.     Otherwise,  the  figure  is  finely  designed, 
and  the  face   is   one   of  considerable  beauty  and  expression.     The 
Hercules  is   a   man-mountain.     From   the  size  and  arrangement  of 
this  group,  it  seems  more  like  a  precipice  falling  on  one's  head,  than 
a   piece    of  sculpture.     The    effect    is   not    so    far    pleasant.     If  a 
complaint    lies    against    this    statue   on    the  score  of  unwieldy    and 
enormous  size,  it  is  relieved  by  No.    1775,  -^  Zephyr  thwarting  the 
loves  of  a  Butterfly  and  a  Rose,  Boyer.      Here  French  art  is  on  its 
legs  again,  and  in  the  true  vignette  style.     A  Zephyr,  a  Butterfly, 
and  a  Rose,  all  in  one  group — Charming  !     In  such  cases  the  light- 
ness, the  prettiness,  the  flutter,  and  the  affectation  are  extreme,  and 
such  as  no  one  but  themselves  will  think  of  rivalling.     One  of  their 
greatest  and  most  successful  attempts  is  the  Grace  aux  Prisonniers, 
No.  1802,  by  David.      Is  it  not  the  Knife-grinder  of  the  ancients, 
thrown  into  a  more  heroic  attitude,  and  with  an  impassioned  expres- 
sion I     However  this  may  be,  there  is  real  boldness  in  the  design, 
and  animation  in  the  countenance,  a  feeling  of  disinterested  generosity 
contending  with  the  agonies  of  death.     I  cannot  give  much  praise 
to  their   religious   subjects  in  general.     The  French  of  the  present 
day  are  not  bigots,  but  sceptics  in  such  matters ;  and  the  cold,  formal 
indifference   of  their  artists   appears    in    their   works.      The   Christ 
confounding  the  incredulity  of  St.  Thomas  (by  Jacquot)  is  not  calculated 
to  produce  this  effect  on  anybody  else.     They  treat  classical  subjects 
much  more  con  amore ;  but  the  mixture  of  the  Christian  Faith  and  of 
Pagan  superstitions  is  at  least  as  reprehensible  in  the  present  Collection 
as   in   Milton's   Paradise    Lost.      Among    pieces  of  devotion.   The 
Virgin  and  Child,  and  the  St.    Catherine  of  Cortot   (Nos.    1791-22) 
struck  me  as  the  best.     There  is  a  certain  delicacy  of  finishing  and 
graceful    womanhood    about    both,    which    must    make    them    very 
acceptable  accompaniments  to   Catholic   zeal.      The   French   excel 
generally  in  emblematic  subjects,  or  in  whatever  depends  on  accuracy 
and  invention  in  costume,  of  which  there  are  several  examples  here. 
What  I  liked  best,  however,  were  some  of  their  studies  of  the  naked 
figure,  which  have  great  simplicity  and  ease,  such  as  a  Nymph  making 
a  Garland  of  Flowers,  No.  1888  (Parmentier),  and  a   Touth  going  to 
bathe.    No.    1831    (Espercieux).      This    last    figure,   in   particular, 
appears  to  be  really  sliding  down  into  the  bath.     Cupid  tormenting  the 
Soul  (after  Chaudet)  is  a  very  clever  and  spirited  design,  in  bronze. 
Their  busts,  in  general,  are  not  excellent.     There  are,  however,  a 

few  exceptions,  one  especially  of  a  Mademoiselle  Hersilie  de  F , 

167 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

by  Gayrard,  which  is  a  perfect  representation  of  nature.  It  is  an 
unaffected,  admirable  portrait,  with  good  humour  and  good  sense 
playing  over  every  feature  of  the  face. 

In  fine,  I  suspect  there  is  nothing  in  the  French  Saloon  of  Sculpture 
greatly  to  stagger  or  entirely  to  overset  the  opinion  of  those  who 
have  a  prejudice  against  the  higher  pretensions  of  French  art.  They 
have  no  masterpieces  equal  to  Chantry's  busts,  nor  to  Flaxman's 
learned  outlines,  nor  to  the  polished  elegance  of  Canova ;  to  say 
nothing  of  the  exquisite  beauty  and  symmetry  of  the  antique,  nor  of 
the  Elgin  Marbles,  among  which  the  Theseus  sits  in  form  like  a 
demi-god,  basking  on  a  golden  cloud.  If  ever  there  were  models 
of  the  Fine  Arts  fitted  to  give  an  impulse  to  living  genius,  these  are 
they.^  With  enough  to  teach  the  truest,  highest  style  in  art,  they 
are  not  in  sufficient  numbers  or  preservation  to  distract  or  discourage 
emulation.  With  these  and  Nature  for  our  guides,  we  might  do 
something  in  sculpture,  if  we  were  not  indolent  and  unapt.  The 
French,  whatever  may  be  their  defects,  cannot  be  charged  with  want 
of  labour  and  study.  The  only  charge  against  them  (a  heavy  one, 
if  true)  is  want  of  taste  and  genius. 

'  It  were  to  be  wished  that  the  French  sculptors  would  come  over  and  look  at 
the  Elgin  Marbles,  as  they  are  arranged  with  great  care  and  some  pomp  in  the 
British  Museum.  They  may  smile  to  see  that  we  are  willing  to  remove  works  of 
art  from  their  original  places  of  abode,  though  we  will  not  allow  others  to  do  so. 
These  noble  fragments  of  antiquity  might  startle  our  fastidious  neighbours  a  little 
at  first  from  their  rude  state  and  their  simplicity,  but  I  think  they  would  gain 
upon  them  by  degrees,  and  convince  their  understandings,  if  they  did  not  subdue 
their  affections.  They  are  indeed  an  equally  instructive  lesson  and  unanswerable 
rebuke  to  them  and  to  us  —  to  them  for  thinking  that  finishing  every 
part  alike  is  perfection,  and  to  us  who  imagine  that  to  leave  every  part  alike 
unfinished  Is  grandeur.  They  are  as  remote  from  finicalness  as  grossness,  and 
combine  the  parts  with  the  whole  in  the  manner  that  nature  does.  Every  part 
is  given,  but  not  ostentatiously,  and  only  as  it  would  appear  in  the  circumstances. 
There  is  an  alternate  action  and  repose.  If  one  muscle  is  strained,  another  is 
proportionably  relaxed.  If  one  limb  is  in  action  and  another  at  rest,  they  come 
under  a  different  law,  and  the  muscles  are  not  brought  out  nor  the  skin  tightened 
in  the  one  as  in  the  other.  There  is  a  flexibility  and  sway  of  the  limbs  and  of  the 
whole  body.  The  flesh  has  the  softness  and  texture  of  flesh,  not  the  smoothness 
or  stiffness  of  stone.  There  is  an  undulation  and  a  liquid  flow  on  the  surface,  as 
the  breath  of  genius  moved  the  mighty  mass  :  they  are  the  finest  forms  in  the 
most  striking  attitudes,  and  with  every  thing  in  its  place,  proportion,  and  degree, 
uniting  the  ease,  truth,  force,  and  delicacy  of  Nature.  They  shew  nothing  but 
the  artist's  thorough  comprehension  of,  and  entire  docility  to  that  great  teacher. 
There  Is  no  petit-maitreship,  no  pedantry,  no  attempt  at  a  display  of  science,  or  at 
forcing  the  parts  into  an  artificial  symmetry,  but  it  is  like  cutting  a  human  body 
out  of  a  block  of  marble,  and  leaving  It  to  act  for  itself  with  all  the  same  springs, 
levers,  and  internal  machinery.  It  was  said  of  Shakspeare*s  dramas,  that  they 
were  the  hgic  of  passion  5  and  it  may  be  affirmed  of  the  Elgin  Marbles,  that  they 
are  the  logic  of  form. — One  part  being  given,  another  cannot  be  otherwise  than  it 

168 


THROUGH   FRANCE   AND   ITALY 


CHAPTER    XII 

The  French  themselves  think  less  about  their  music  than  any  other 
of  their  pretensions.  It  is  almost  a  sore  subject  with  them  ;  for  it 
interrupts  their  talking,  and  they  had  rather  hear  nothing  about  it, 
except  as  an  accompaniment  to  a  jig.  Their  ears  are,  in  this  respect, 
in  their  heels,  and  it  is  only  the  light  and  giddy  that  they  at  all  endure. 
They  have  no  idea  of  cadence  in  any  of  the  arts — of  the  rise  and  fall 
of  the  passions — of  the  elevations  or  depressions  of  hope  or  fear  in 
poetry — of  alternate  light  or  shade  in  pictures — all  is  reduced  (as 
nearly  as  possible)  in  their  minds  to  the  level  of  petty,  vapid  self- 
satisfaction,  or  to  dry  and  systematic  prosing  for  the  benefit  of  others. 
But  they  must  be  more  particularly  at  a  loss  in  music,  which  requires 
the  deepest  feeling,  and  admits  the  least  of  the  impertinence  of 
explanation,  which  mounts  on  its  own  raptures  and  is  dissolved  in 
its  own  tenderness ;  which  has  no  witness  or  vouchers  but  the  inward 
sense  of  delight,  and  rests  its  faith  on  the  speechless  eloquence,  the 
rich,  circling  intoxication  of  inarticulate  but  heart-felt  sounds.  The 
French  have  therefore  no  national  music,  except  a  few  meagre 
chansons,  and  their  only  idea  of  musical  excellence  is  either  rapidity 
or  loudness  of  execution.  You  perceive  the  effect  of  this  want  of 
enthusiasm  even  in  the  streets, — they  have  neither  barrel-organs  nor 
blind  fiddlers  as  with  us,  who  are  willing  to  pay  for  the  encourage- 
ment of  the  arts,  however  indifferently  we  may  practise  them ;  nor 
does  the  national  spirit  break  out  from  every  strolling  party  or  village 
group,  as  it  is  said  to  do  in  Italy.  A  French  servant-girl,  while  she 
is  cleaning  out  a  room,  lays  down  her  brush  to  dance — she  takes  it 
up  to  finish  her  work,  and  lays  it  down  again  to  dance,  impelled  by 
the  lightness  of  her  head  and  of  her  heels.  But  you  seldom  hear  her 
sing  at  her  work,  and  never,  if  there  is  any  one  within  hearing  to  talk 
to. — The  French  Opera  is  a  splendid,  but  a  comparatively  empty 
theatre.  It  is  nearly  as  large  (I  should  think)  as  the  King's  Theatre 
in  the  Hay -market,  and  is  in  a  semi-circular  form.      The  pit  (the 

is.  There  is  a  mutual  understanding  and  re-action  throughout  the  whole  frame. 
The  Apollo  and  other  antiques  are  not  equally  simple  and  severe.  The  limbs 
have  too  much  an  appearance  of  being  cased  in  marble,  of  making  a  display  of 
every  recondite  beauty,  and  of  balancing  and  answering  to  one  another,  like  the 
rhymes  in  verse.  The  Elgin  Marbles  are  harmonious,  flowing,  varied  prose.  In 
a  word,  they  are  like  casts  after  the  finest  nature.  Any  cast  from  nature,  how- 
ever inferior,  is  in  the  same  style.  Let  the  French  and  English  sculptors  make 
casts  continually.  The  one  will  see  in  them  the  parts  everywhere  given — the 
other  will  see  them  everywhere  given  in  subordination  to,  and  as  forming  materials 
for  a  whole. 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

evening  I  was  there)  was  about  half  full  of  men,  in  their  black, 
dingy  sticky-looking  dresses ;  and  there  were  a  few  plainly-dressed 
women  in  the  boxes.  But  where  was  that  blaze  of  beauty  and 
fashion,  of  sparkling  complexions  and  bright  eyes,  that  streams  like 
a  galaxy  from  the  boxes  of  our  Opera-house — like  a  Heaven  of 
loveliness  let  half-way  down  upon  the  earth,  and  charming  '  the 
upturned  eyes  of  wondering  mortals,'  before  which  the  thrilling 
sounds  that  circle  through  the  House  seem  to  tremble  with  delight 
and  drink  in  new  rapture  from  its  conscious  presence,  and  to  which 
the  mimic  Loves  and  Graces  are  proud  to  pay  their  distant,  smiling 
homage  ?  Certainly  it  was  not  here ;  nor  do  I  know  where  the  sun 
of  beauty  hides  itself  in  France.  I  have  seen  but  three  rays  of  it 
since  I  came,  gilding  a  dark  and  pitchy  cloud !  It  was  not  so  in 
Rousseau's  time,  for  these  very  Loges  were  filled  with  the  most 
beautiful  women  of  the  Court,  who  came  to  see  his  De-uin  du  Village, 
aud  whom  he  heard  murmuring  around  him  in  the  softest  accents — 
'  Tons  ces  sons  la  -vont  au  cceur !  '  The  change  is,  I  suppose,  owing 
to  the  Revolution ;  but  whatever  it  is  owing  to,  the  monks  have  not, 
by  their  return,  banished  this  conventual  gloom  from  their  theatres ; 
nor  is  there  any  of  that  airy,  flaunting,  florid,  butterfly,  gauzy, 
variegated  appearance  to  be  found  in  them  that  they  have  with  us. 
These  gentlemen  still  keep  up  the  farce  of  refusing  actors  burial  in 
consecrated  ground  ;  the  mob  pelt  them,  and  the  critics  are  even  with 
them  by  going  to  see  the  representation  of  the  TartufFe  ! 

I  found  but  little  at  the  Royal  Academy  of  Music  (as  it  is 
affectedly  called)  to  carry  off  this  general  dulness  of  eflFect,  either 
through  the  excellence  or  novelty  of  the  performances.  A  Made- 
moiselle Noel  (who  seems  to  be  a  favourite)  made  her  debut  in 
Dido.  Though  there  was  nothing  very  striking,  there  was  nothing 
offensive  in  her  representation  of  the  character.  For  any  thing  that 
appeared  in  her  style  of  singing  or  acting,  she  might  be  a  very  pleasing, 
modest,  unaffected  English  girl  performing  on  an  English  stage. 
There  was  not  a  single  trait  of  French  bravura  or  grimace.  Her 
execution,  however,  seldom  rose  higher  than  an  agreeable  mediocrity  ; 
and  with  considerable  taste  and  feeling,  her  powers  seemed  to  be 
limited.  She  produced  her  chief  effect  in  the  latter  and  more 
pathetic  scenes,  and  ascended  the  funeral  pile  with  dignity  and 
composure.  Is  it  not  strange  (if  contradictions  and  hasty  caprices 
taken  up  at  random,  and  laid  down  as  laws,  were  strange  in  this  centre 
of  taste  and  refinement)  that  the  French  should  raise  such  an  outcry 
against  our  assaults  at  arms  and  executions  on  the  stage,  and  yet  see  a 
young  and  beautiful  female  prepare  to  give  herself  the  fatal  blow, 
without    manifesting    the    smallest    repugnance   or    dissatisfaction  ? — 

170 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

^neas  and  larbas  were  represented  by  Messrs.  Mourritt  and  Derivis. 
The  first  was  insipid,  the  last  a  perfect  Stentor.  He  spoke  or  sung 
all  through  with  an  unmitigated  ferocity  of  purpose  and  manner,  and 
with  lungs  that  seemed  to  have  been  forged  expressly  for  the  occasion. 
Ten  bulls  could  not  bellow  louder,  nor  a  whole  street-full  of  frozen- 
out  gardeners  at  Christmas.  His  barbarous  tunic  and  accoutrements 
put  one  strongly  in  mind  of  Robinson  Crusoe,  while  the  modest 
demeanour  and  painted  complexion  of  the  pious  -S^neas  bore  a  con- 
siderable analogy  to  the  submissive  advance  and  rosy  cheeks  of  that 
usual  accompaniment  of  English  travelling,  who  ushers  himself  into  the 
room  at  intervals,  with  awkward  bows,  and  his  hat  twirled  round  in 
his  hands,  '  to  hope  you  '11  remember  the  coachman.'  The  JEneas 
of  the  poet,  however,  was  a  shabby  fellow,  and  had  but  justice  done 
him. 

I  had  leisure  during  this  otiose  performance  to  look  around  me,  and 
as  '  it  is  my  vice  to  spy  into  abuses,'  the  first  thing  that  struck  me 
was  the  prompter.  Any  Frenchman  who  has  that  sum  at  his 
disposal,  should  give  ten  thousand  francs  a  year  for  this  situation.  It 
must  be  a  source  of  ecstasy  to  him.  For  not  an  instant  was  he 
quiet — tossing  his  hands  in  the  air,  darting  them  to  the  other  side  of  the 
score  which  he  held  before  him  in  front  of  the  stage,  snapping  his 
fingers,  nodding  his  head,  beating  time  with  his  feet ;  and  this  not 
mechanically,  or  as  if  it  were  a  drudgery  he  was  forced  to  go  through, 
and  would  be  glad  to  have  done  with,  but  with  unimpaired  glee  and 
vehemence  of  gesture,  jerking,  twisting,  fidgeting,  wriggling,  starting, 
stamping,  as  if  the  incessant  motion  had  fairly  turned  his  head,  and 
every  muscle  in  his  frame  were  saturated  with  the  spirit  of  quick- 
silver. To  be  in  continual  motion  for  four  hours,  and  to  direct  the 
motions  of  others  by  the  wagging  of  a  finger,  to  be  not  only  an  object 
of  important  attention  to  the  stage  and  orchestra,  but  (in  his  own 
imagination)  to  pit,  boxes,  and  gallery,  as  the  pivot  on  which  the 
whole  grand  machinery  of  that  grandest  of  all  machines,  the  French 
Opera,  turns — this  is  indeed,  for  a  Parisian,  the  acme  of  felicity ! 
Every  nerve  must  thrill  with  electrical  satisfaction,  and  every  pore 
into  which  vanity  can  creep  tingle  with  self-conceit !  Not  far  from 
this  restless  automaton  (as  if  extremes  met,  or  the  volatility  of  youth 
subsided  into  a  sort  of  superannuated  still-life)  sat  an  old  gentleman  in 
front  of  the  pit,  with  his  back  to  me,  a  white  powdered  head,  the 
curls  sticking  out  behind,  and  a  coat  of  the  finest  black.  This  was 
all  I  saw  of  him  for  some  time — he  did  not  once  turn  his  head  or 
shift  his  position,  any  more  than  a  wig  and  coat  stuck  upon  a  barber's 
block — till  I  suddenly  missed  him,  and  soon  after  saw  him  seated  on 
the  opposite  side  of  the  house,  his  face  as  yellow  and  hard  as  a  piece 

171 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

of  mahogany,  but  without  expressing  either  pleasure  or  pain.  Neither 
the  fiddlers'  elbows  nor  the  dancers'  legs  moved  him  one  jot.  His 
fiddling  fancies  and  his  dancing-days  were  flown,  and  had  left  this 
shadow,  this  profile,  this  mummy  of  a  French  gentleman  of  the  old 
regime  behind.  A  Frenchman  has  no  object  in  life  but  to  talk  and 
move  with  eclat,  and  when  he  ceases  to  do  either,  he  has  no  heart  to 
do  any  thing.  Deprived  of  his  vivacity,  his  thoughtlessness,  his 
animal  spirits,  he  becomes  a  piece  of  costume,  a  finely-powdered  wig, 
an  embroidered  coat,  a  pair  of  shoe-buckles,  a  gold  cane,  or  a  snuff- 
box. Drained  of  mere  sensations  and  of  their  youthful  blood,  the 
old  fellows  seem  like  the  ghosts  of  the  young  ones,  and  have  none  of 
their  overweening  offensiveness,  or  teasing  officiousness.  I  can 
hardly  conceive  of  a  young  French  gentleman,  nor  of  an  old  one  who 
is  otherwise.  The  latter  come  up  to  my  ideal  of  this  character,  cut, 
as  it  were,  out  of  pasteboard,  moved  on  springs,  amenable  to  forms, 
crimped  and  starched  like  a  cravat,  without  a  single  tart  ebullition,  or 
voluntary  motion.  Some  of  them  may  be  seen  at  present  gliding 
along  the  walks  of  the  Tuileries,  and  the  sight  of  them  is  good  for 
sore  eyes.  They  are  also  thinly  sprinkled  through  the  play-house  ; 
for  the  drama  and  the  belles-lettres  were  in  their  time  the  amusement 
and  the  privilege  of  the  Court,  and  the  contrast  of  their  powdered 
heads  and  pale  faces  makes  the  rest  of  the  audience  appear  like  a  set 
of  greasy,  impudent  mechanics.  A  Frenchman  is  nothing  without 
powder,  an  Englishman  is  nothing  with  it.  The  character  of  the 
one  is  artificial,  that  of  the  other  natural.  The  women  of  France  do 
not  submit  to  the  regular  approaches  and  the  sober  discipline  of  age 
so  well  as  the  men.  I  had  rather  be  in  company  with  an  old  French 
gentleman  than  a  young  one ;  I  prefer  a  young  Frenchwoman  to  an 
old  one.  They  aggravate  the  encroachments  of  age  by  contending 
with  them,  and  instead  of  displaying  the  natural  graces  and  venerable 
marks  of  that  period  of  life,  paint  and  patch  their  wrinkled  faces, 
and  toupee  and  curl  their  grizzled  locks,  till  they  look  like  Friesland 
hens,  and  are  a  caricature  and  burlesque  of  themselves.  The  old 
women  in  France  that  figure  at  the  theatre  or  elsewhere,  have  very 
much  the  appearance  of  having  kept  a  tavern  or  a  booth  at  a  fair,  or 
of  having  been  mistresses  of  a  place  of  another  description,  for  the 
greater  part  of  their  lives.  A  mannish  hardened  look  and  character 
survives  the  wreck  of  beauty  and  of  female  delicacy. 

Of  all  things  that  I  see  here,  it  surprises  me  the  most  that  the 
French  should  fancy  they  can  dance.  To  dance  is  to  move  with 
grace  and  harmony  to  music.  But  the  French,  whether  men  or 
women,  have  no  idea  of  dancing  but  that  of  moving  with  agility,  and 
of  distorting  their  limbs  in  every  possible  way,  till  they  really  alter 

172 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

the  structure  of  the  human  form.  By  grace  I  understand  the  natural 
movements  of  the  human  body,  heightened  into  dignity  or  softened 
into  ease,  each  posture  or  step  blending  harmoniously  into  the  rest. 
There  is  grace  in  the  waving  of  the  branch  of  a  tree  or  in  the 
bounding  of  a  stag,  because  there  is  freedom  and  unity  of  motion. 
But  the  French  Opera-dancers  think  it  graceful  to  stand  on  one  leg 
or  on  the  points  of  their  toes,  or  with  one  leg  stretched  out  behind 
them,  as  if  they  were  going  to  be  shod,  or  to  raise  one  foot  at  right 
angles  with  their  bodies,  and  twirl  themselves  round  like  a  te-totum, 
to  see  how  long  they  can  spin,  and  then  stop  short  all  of  a  sudden  ; 
or  to  skim  along  the  ground,  flat-footed,  like  a  spider  running  along  a 
cobweb,  or  to  pop  up  and  down  like  a  pea  on  a  tobacco-pipe,  or  to 
stick  in  their  backs  till  another  part  projects  out  behind  comme  des 
•uolails,  and  to  strut  about  like  peacocks  with  infirm,  vain-glorious 
steps,  or  to  turn  out  their  toes  till  their  feet  resemble  apes,  or  to 
raise  one  foot  above  their  heads,  and  turn  swiftly  round  upon  the 
other,  till  the  petticoats  of  the  female  dancers  (for  I  have  been  think- 
ing of  them)  rise  above  their  garters,  and  display  a  pair  of  spindle- 
shanks,  like  the  wooden  ones  of  a  wax-doll,  just  as  shapeless  and  as 
tempting.  There  is  neither  voluptuousness  nor  grace  in  a  single 
attitude  or  movement,  but  a  very  studious  and  successful  attempt  to 
shew  in  what  a  number  of  uneasy  and  difficult  positions  the  human 
body  can  be  put  with  the  greatest  rapidity  of  evolution.  It  is  not 
that  they  do  all  this  with  much  more  to  redeem  it,  but  they  do  all 
this,  and  do  nothing  else.  It  would  be  very  well  as  an  exhibition  of 
tumbler's  tricks,  or  as  rope-dancing  (which  are  only  meant  to  surprise), 
but  it  is  bad  as  Opera-dancing,  if  opera-dancing  aspires  to  be  one  of 
the  Fine  Arts,  or  even  a  handmaid  to  them  ;  that  is,  to  combine 
with  mechanical  dexterity  a  sense  of  the  beautiful  in  form  and 
motion,  and  a  certain  analogy  to  sentiment.  '  The  common  people,' 
says  the  Author  of  Wa-verley,  '  always  prefer  exertion  and  agility  to 
grace.'  Is  that  the  case  also  with  the  most  refined  people  upon 
earth  ?  These  antics  and  vagaries,  this  kicking  of  heels  and  shaking 
of  feet  as  if  they  would  come  off,  might  be  excusable  in  the  men,  for 
they  shew  a  certain  strength  and  muscular  activity  ;  but  in  the  female 
dancers  they  are  unpardonable.  What  is  said  of  poetry  might  be 
applied  to  the  sex.  Non  sat\is^  est  pulchra  poemata  esse,  dulcia  sunto. 
So  women  who  appear  in  public,  should  be  soft  and  lovely  as  well  as 
skilfiil  and  active,  or  they  ought  not  to  appear  at  all.  They  owe  it  to 
themselves  and  others.  As  to  some  of  the  ridiculous  extravagances 
of  this  theatre,  such  as  turning  out  their  toes  and  holding  back  their 
shoulders,  one  would  have  thought  the  Greek  statues  might  have 
taught  their  scientific  professors  better — if  French  artists  did  not  see 

173 


NOTES   OF   A   JOURNEY 

every  thing  with  French  eyes,  and  lament  all  that  differs  from  their 
established  practice  as  a  departure  from  the  line  of  beauty.  They 
are  sorry  that  the  Venus  does  not  hold  up  her  head  like  a  boarding- 
school  miss — 

'  And  would  ask  the  Apollo  to  dance  ! ' 

In  three  months'  practice,  and  with  proper  tuition,  Greek  forms 
would  be  French,  and  they  would  be  perfect! — Mademoiselles 
Fanny  and  Noblet,  I  kiss  your  hands  ;  but  I  have  no  pardon  to  beg 
of  Madame  Le  Gallois,  for  she  looked  like  a  lady  (very  tightly 
laced)  in  the  ballet,  and  played  like  a  heroine  in  the  pantomime  part 
of  La  Folk  par  Amour.  There  was  a  violent  start  at  the  first 
indication  of  her  madness,  that  alarmed  me  a  little,  but  all  that 
followed  was  natural,  modest,  and  affecting  in  a  high  degree.  The 
French  turn  their  Opera-stage  into  a  mad-house ;  they  turn  their 
mad-houses  (at  least  they  have  one  constructed  on  this  principle) 
into  theatres  of  gaiety,  where  they  rehearse  ballets,  operas,  and  plays. 
If  dancing  were  an  antidote  to  madness,  one  would  think  the  French 
would  be  always  in  their  right  senses. 

I  was  told  I  ought  to  see  Nina,  or  La  Folk  par  Amour  at  tha  Salle 
Louvois,  or  Italian  Theatre.  If  I  went  for  that  purpose,  it  would 
be  rather  with  a  wish  than  from  any  hope  of  seeing  it  better  done.  I 
went  however  • 

'  Oh  for  a  beaker  full  of  the  warm  South  ! ' 

It  was  to  see  the  Gazza  Ladra.  The  house  was  full,  the  evening 
sultry,  a  hurry  and  bustle  in  the  lobbies,  an  eagerness  in  the  looks  of 
the  assembled  crowd.  The  audience  seemed  to  be  in  earnest,  and  to 
have  imbibed  an  interest  from  the  place.  On  the  stage  there  were 
rich  dresses  and  voices,  the  tones  of  passion,  ease,  nature,  animation  ; 
in  short,  the  scene  had  a  soul  in  it.  One  wondered  how  one  was  in 
Paris,  with  their  pasteboard  maps  of  the  passions,  and  thin-skinned, 
dry-lipped  humour.  Signora  Mombelli  played  the  humble,  but 
interesting  heroine  charmingly,  with  truth,  simplicity,  and  feeling. 
Her  voice  is  neither  rich  nor  sweet,  but  it  is  clear  as  a  bell.  Signor 
Pellegrini  played  the  intriguing  Magistrate,  with  a  solemnity  and 
farcical  drollery,  that  I  would  not  swear  is  much  inferior  to  Liston. 
But  I  swear,  that  Brunet  (whom  I  saw  the  other  night,  and  had  seen 
before  without  knowing  it)  is  not  equal  to  Liston.  Yet  he  is  a 
feeble,  quaint  diminutive  of  that  original.  He  squeaks  and  gibbers 
oddly  enough  at  the  Theatre  des  Varietes,  like  a  mouse  in  the  hollow 
of  a  musty  cheese,  his  small  eyes  peering  out,  and  his  sharp  teeth 
nibbling  at  the  remains  of  some  faded  joke.  The  French  people  of 
174 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

quality  go  to  the  Italian  Opera,  but  they  do  not  attend  to  it.  The 
tabbies  of  the  Court  are  tabbies  still ;  and  took  no  notice  of  what  was 
passing  on  the  stage  on  this  occasion,  till  the  tolling  of  the  bell  made 
a  louder  and  more  disagreable  noise  than  themselves ;  this  they 
seemed  to  like.  They  behave  well  at  their  own  theatres,  but  it 
would  be  a  breach  of  etiquette  to  do  so  anywhere  else.  A  girl  in 
the  gallery  (an  Italian  by  her  complexion,  and  from  her  interest  in 
the  part)  was  crying  bitterly  at  the  story  of  the  Maid  and  the  Magpie, 
while  three  Frenchmen,  in  the  Troisieme  Loge,  were  laughing  at  her 
the  whole  time.  I  said  to  one  of  them,  '  It  was  not  a  thing  to  laugh 
at,  but  to  admire.'  He  turned  away,  as  if  the  remark  did  not  come 
within  his  notions  of  sentiment.  This  did  not  stagger  me  in  my 
theory  of  the  French  character  ;  and  when  one  is  possessed  of  nothing 
but  a  theory,  one  is  glad,  not  sorry  to  keep  it,  though  at  the  expense 
of  others. 1 


CHAPTER    XIII 

We  left  Paris  in  the  Diligence,  and  arrived  at  Fontainbleau  the 
first  night.  The  accommodations  at  the  inn  were  indifferent,  and 
not  cheap.  The  palace  is  a  low  straggling  mass  of  very  old 
buildings,  having  been  erected  by  St.  Louis  in  the  12th  century, 
whence  he  used  to  date  his  Rescripts,  '  From  my  Deserts  of  Fon- 
tainbleau !  '  It  puts  one  in  mind  of  Monkish  legends,  of  faded 
splendour,  of  the  leaden  spouts  and  uncouth  stone-cherubim  of  a 
country  church-yard.  It  is  empty  or  gaudy  within,  stiff  and  heavy 
without.  Henry  iv.  figures  on  the  walls  with  the  fair  Gabrielle, 
like  the  Tutelary  Satyr  of  the  place,  keeping  up  the  remembrance 
of  old-fashioned  royalty  and  gallantry.  They  here  shew  you  the 
table  (a  plain  round  piece  of  mahogany)  on  which  Buonaparte  in 
1 8 1 4  signed  the  abdication  of  the  human  race,  in  fa'vour  of  the  hered- 
itary proprietors  of  the  species.  We  walked  forward  a  mile  or  two 
before  the  coach  the  next  day  on  the  road  to  Montargis.  It  presents 
a  long,  broad,  and  stately  avenue  without  a  turning,  as  far  as  the  eye 
can  reach,  and  is  skirted  on  each  side  by  a  wild,  woody,  rocky 
scenery.  The  birch-trees,  with  their  grey  stems  and  light  glittering 
branches,  silvered  over  the  darker  back-ground,  and  afforded  a 
striking  contrast  to  the  brown  earth  and  green  moss  beneath.  There 
was  a  stillness  in   the  woods,  which  affects  the  mind  the  more  in 

'  For  some  account  of  Madame  Pasta's  acting  in  Nina,  I  talce  the  liberty  to 
refer  to  a  volume  of  Table-Talk,  just  published. 


NOTES  OF  A  JOURNEY 

objects  whose  very  motion  is  gentleness.  The  day  was  dull,  but 
quite  mild,  though  in  the  middle  of  January.  The  situation  of 
Fontainbleau  is  certainly  interesting  and  fine.  It  stands  in  the  midst 
of  an  extensive  forest,  intersected  with  craggy  precipices  and  rugged 
ranges  of  hills  ;  and  the  various  roads  leading  to  or  from  it  are  cut  out 
of  a  wilderness,  which  a  hermit  might  inhabit.  The  approach  to  the 
different  towns  in  France  has,  in  this  respect,  the  advantage  over 
ours  ;  for,  from  burning  wood  instead  of  coal,  they  must  have  large 
woods  in  the  neighbourhood,  which  clothe  the  country  round  them, 
and  aiford,  as  Pope  expresses  it, 

'  In  summer  shade,  in  winter  fire.' 

We  dig  our  fuel  out  of  the  bowels  of  the  earth,  and  have  a  greater 
portion  of  its  surface  left  at  our  disposal,  which  we  devote  not  to 
ornament,  but  use.  A  copse-wood  or  an  avenue  of  trees  however, 
makes  a  greater  addition  to  the  beauty  of  a  town  than  a  coal-pit  or 
a  steam-engine  in  its  vicinity. 

When  the  Diligence  came  up,  and  we  took  our  seats  in  the  coupe 
(which  is  that  part  of  a  French  stage-coach  which  resembles  an  old 
shattered  post-chaise,  placed  in  front  of  the  main  body  of  it)  we  found 
a  French  lady  occupying  the  third  place  in  it,  whose  delight  at  our 
entrance  was  as  great  as  if  we  had  joined  her  on  some  desert  island, 
and  whose  mortification  was  distressing  when  she  learnt  we  were  not 
going  the  whole  way  with  her.  She  complained  of  the  cold  of  the 
night  air ;  but  this  she  seemed  to  dread  less  than  the  want  of 
company.  She  said  she  had  been  deceived,  for  she  had  been  told 
the  coach  was  full,  and  was  in  despair  that  she  should  not  have  a 
soul  to  speak  to  all  the  way  to  Lyons.  We  got  out,  notwith- 
standing, at  the  inn  at  Montargis,  where  we  met  with  a  very 
tolerable  reception,  and  were  waited  on  at  supper  by  one  of  those 
Maritorneses  that  perfectly  astonish  an  English  traveller.  Her  joy 
at  our  arrival  was  as  extreme  as  if  her  whole  fortune  depended  on 
it.  She  laughed,  danced,  sung,  fairly  sprung  into  the  air,  bounced 
into  the  room,  nearly  overset  the  table,  hallooed  and  talked 
as  loud  as  if  she  had  been  alternately  ostler  and  chamber-maid. 
She  was  as  rough  and  boisterous  as  any  country  bumpkin  at  a  wake 
or  statute-fair  ;  and  yet  so  full  of  rude  health  and  animal  spirits,  that 
you  were  pleased  instead  of  being  offended.  In  England,  a  girl 
with  such  boorish  manners  would  not  be  borne ;  but  her  good- 
humour  kept  pace  with  her  coarseness,  and  she  was  as  incapable  of 
giving  as  of  feeling  pain.  There  is  something  in  the  air  in  France 
that  carries  off  the  blue  devils  ! 

The  mistress  of  the  inn,  however,  was  a  little   peaking,  pining 

176 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

woman,  with  her  face  wrapped  up  in  flannel,  and  not  quite  so 
inaccessible  to  nervous  impressions ;  and  when  I  asked  the  girl, 
•  What  made  her  speak  so  loud  ? '  she  answered  for  her,  '  To  make 
people  deaf!  '  This  side-reproof  did  not  in  the  least  moderate  the 
brazen  tones  of  her  help-mate,  but  rather  gave  a  new  fillip  to  her 
spirits  ;  though  she  was  less  on  the  alert  than  the  night  before,  and 
appeared  to  the  full  as  much  bent  on  arranging  her  curls  in  the 
looking-glass  when  she  came  into  the  room,  as  on  arranging  the 
breakfast  things  on  the  tea-board. 

We  staid  here  till  one  o'clock  on  Sunday  (the  i6th,)  waiting  the 
arrival  of  the  Lyonnais,  in  which  we  had  taken  our  places  forward, 
and  which  I  thought  would  never  arrive.  Let  no  man  trust  to  a 
placard  stuck  on  the  walls  of  Paris,  advertising  the  cheapest  and 
most  expeditious  mode  of  conveyance  to  all  parts  of  the  world. 
It  may  be  no  better  than  a  snare  to  the  unwary.  The  Lyonnais, 
I  thought  from  the  advertisement,  was  the  Swift-sure  of  Diligences. 
It  was  to  arrive  ten  hours  before  any  other  Diligence ;  it  was  the 
most  compact,  the  most  elegant  of  modern  vehicles.  From  the 
description  and  the  print  of  it,  it  seemed  '  a  thing  of  life,'  a  minion 
of  the  fancy.  To  see  it  stand  in  a  state  of  disencumbered  abstraction, 
it  appeared  a  self-impelling  machine ;  or  if  it  needed  aid,  was  horsed, 
unlike  your  Paris  Diligences,  by  nimble,  airy  Pegasuses.  To  look 
at  the  fac-s'tmile  of  it  that  was  put  into  your  hand,  you  would 
say  it  might  run  or  fly — might  traverse  the  earth,  or  whirl  you 
through  the  air,  without  let  or  impediment,  so  light  was  it  to 
outward  appearance  in  structure  '  fit  for  speed  succinct ' — a  chariot 
for  Puck  or  Ariel  to  ride  in !  This  was  the  account  I  had  (or  some- 
thing like  it)  from  Messieurs  the  Proprietors  at  the  Cour  des  Fontaines. 
'  Mark  how  a  plain  tale  shall  put  them  down.'  Those  gentlemen 
came  to  me  after  I  had  paid  for  two  places  as  far  as  Nevers,  to  ask 
me  to  resign  them  in  favour  of  two  Englishmen,  who  wished  to  go 
the  whole  way,  and  to  re-engage  them  for  the  following  evening. 
I  said  I  could  not  do  that ;  but  as  I  had  a  dislike  to  travelling  at 
night,  I  would  go  on  to  Montargis  by  some  other  conveyance,  and 
proceed  by  the  Lyonnais,  which  would  arrive  there  at  eight  or 
nine  on  Sunday  morning,  as  far  as  I  could  that  night.  I  set  out  on 
the  faith  of  this  understanding.  I  had  some  difficulty  in  finding  the 
Office  sur  la  place,  to  which  I  had  been  directed,  and  which  was 
something  between  a  stable,  a  kitchen,  and  a  cook-shop.  I  was  led 
to  it  by  a  shabby  double  or  counterpart  of  the  Lyonnais,  which  stood 
before  the  door,  empty,  dirty,  bare  of  luggage,  waiting  the  Paris 
one,  which  had  not  yet  arrived.  It  drove  into  town  four  hours 
afterwards,  with  three  foundered  hacks,  with  the  postilion  and 
VOL.  IX.  :  M  177 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

Conducteur  for  its  complement  of  passengers,  the  last  occupying  the 
left  hand  corner  of  the  coupe  in  solitary  state,  with  a  whisp  of  straw 
thrust  through  a  broken  pane  of  one  of  the  front  windows,  and  a 
tassel  of  blue  and  yellow  fringe  hanging  out  of  the  other ;  and  with 
that  mixture  of  despondency  and  Jierte  in  his  face,  which  long  and 
uninterrupted  pondering  on  the  state  of  the  way-bill  naturally 
produces  in  such  circumstances.  He  seized  upon  me  and  my 
trunks  as  lawful  prize ;  he  afterwards  insisted  on  my  going  forward 
in  the  middle  of  the  night  to  Lyons,  (contrary  to  my  agreement,) 
and  I  was  obliged  to  comply,  or  to  sleep  upon  trusses  of  straw  in 
a  kind  of  out-house.  We  quarrelled  incessantly,  but  I  could  not 
help  laughing,  for  he  sometimes  looked   like  my  old  acquaintance. 

Dr.     S.,    and    sometimes    like    my    friend,    A  H ,    of 

Edinburgh.  He  said  we  should  reach  Lyons  the  next  evening, 
and  we  got  there  twenty-four  hours  after  the  time.  He  told  me 
for  my  comfort,  the  reason  of  his  being  so  late  was,  that  two  of  his 
horses  had  fallen  down  dead  on  the  road.  He  had  to  raise  relays 
of  horses  all  the  way,  as  if  we  were  travelling  through  a  hostile 
country  ;  quarrelled  with  all  the  postilions  about  an  abatement  of 
a  few  sous ;  and  once  our  horses  were  arrested  in  the  middle  of  the 
night  by  a  farmer  who  refiised  to  trust  him ;  and  he  had  to  go 
before  the  Mayor,  as  soon  as  day  broke.  We  were  quizzed  by  the 
post-boys,  the  inn-keepers,  the  peasants  all  along  the  road,  as  a 
shabby  concern ;  our  Conducteur  bore  it  all,  like  another  Candide. 
We  stopped  at  all  the  worst  inns  in  the  outskirts  of  the  towns, 
where  nothing  was  ready ;  or  when  it  was,  was  not  eatable.  The 
second  morning  we  were  to  breakfast  at  Moulins ;  when  we 
alighted,  our  guide  told  us  it  was  eleven :  the  clock  in  the  kitchen 
pointed  to  three.  As  he  laughed  in  my  face  when  I  complained 
of  his  misleading  me,  I  told  him  that  he  was  '  un  impudent,'  and  this 
epithet  sobered  him  the  rest  of  the  way.  As  we  left  Moulins,  the 
crimson  clouds  of  evening  streaked  the  west,  and  I  had  time  to 
think  of  Sterne's  Maria.  The  people  at  the  inn,  I  suspect,  had 
never  heard  of  her.  There  was  no  trace  of  romance  about  the 
house.  Certainly,  mine  was  not  a  Sentimental  Journey.  Is  it  not 
provoking  to  come  to  a  place,  that  has  been  consecrated  by  'famous 
poet's  pen,'  as  a  breath,  a  name,  a  fairy-scene,  and  find  it  a  dull, 
dirty  town  ?  Let  us  leave  the  realities  to  shift  for  themselves,  and 
think  only  of  those  bright  tracts  that  have  been  reclaimed  for  us  by 
the  fancy,  where  the  perfume,  the  sound,  the  vision,  and  the  joy 
still  linger,  like  the  soft  light  of  evening  skies !  Is  the  story  of 
Maria  the  worse,  because  I  am  travelling  a  dirty  road  in  a  rascally 
Diligence  ?  Or  is  it  an  injury  done  us  by  the  author  to  have 
178 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

invented  for  us  what  we  should  not  have  met  with  in  reality  ? 
Has  it  not  been  read  with  pleasure  by  thousands  of  readers, 
though  the  people  at  the  inn  had  never  heard  of  it  ?  Yet 
Sterne  would  have  been  vexed  to  find  that  the  fame  of  his 
Maria  had  never  reached  the  little  town  of  Moulins.  We  are 
always  dissatisfied  with  the  good  we  have,  and  always  punished  for 
our  unreasonableness. 

At  Palisseau  (the  road  is  rich  in  melo-dramatic  recollections)  it 
became  pitch-dark ;  you  could  not  see  your  hand ;  I  entreated  to 
have  the  lamp  lighted;  our  Conducteur  said  it  was  broken  icasse'). 
With  much  persuasion,  and  the  ordering  a  bottle  of  their  best  wine, 
which  went  round  among  the  people  at  the  inn,  we  got  a  lantern  with 
a  rushlight  in  it,  but  the  wind  soon  blew  it  out,  and  we  went  on  our 
way  darkling  ;  the  road  lay  over  a  high  hill,  with  a  loose  muddy 
bottom  between  two  hedges,  and  as  we  did  not  attempt  to  trot  or 
gallop,  we  came  safe  to  the  level  ground  on  the  other  side.  We 
breakfasted  at  Rouane,  where  we  were  first  shewn  into  the  kitchen, 
while  they  were  heating  a  suffocating  stove  in  a  squalid  salle  a 
manger.  There,  while  I  was  sitting  half  dead  with  cold  and  fatigue, 
a  boy  came  and  scraped  a  wooden  dresser  close  at  my  ear,  with  a 
noise  to  split  one's  brain,  and  with  true  French  nonchalance ;  and  a 
portly  landlady,  who  had  risen  just  as  we  had  done  breakfasting, 
ushered  us  to  our  carriage  with  the  airs  and  graces  of  a  Madame 
Maintenon.  In  France  you  meet  with  the  court  address  in  a 
stable-yard.  In  other  countries  you  may  find  grace  in  a  cottage  or 
a  wilderness  ;  but  it  is  simple,  unconscious  grace,  without  the  full- 
blown pride  and  strut  of  mannered  confidence  and  presumption. 
A  woman  in  France  is  graceful  by  going  out  of  her  sphere ;  not 
by  keeping  within  it. — In  crossing  the  bridge  at  Rouane,  the  sun 
shone  brightly  oil  the  river  and  shipping,  which  had  a  busy  cheerful 
aspect;  and  we  began  to  ascend  the  Bourbonnois  under  more 
flattering  auspices.  We  got  out  and  walked  slowly  up  the  sounding 
road.  I  found  that  the  morning  air  refreshed  and  braced  my  spirits ; 
and  that  even  the  continued  fatigue  of  the  journey,  which  I  had 
dreaded  as  a  hazardous  experiment,  was  a  kind  of  seasoning  to  me. 
I  was  less  exhausted  than  the  first  day.  I  will  venture  to  say, 
that  for  an  invalid,  sitting  up  all  night  is  better  than  lying  in  bed 
all  day.  Hardships,  however  dreadful  to  nervous  apprehensions, 
by  degrees  give  us  strength  and  resolution  to  endure  them :  whereas 
effeminacy  softens  and  renders  us  less  and  less  capable  of  encountering 
pain  or  difficulty.  It  is  the  love  of  indulgence,  or  the  shock  of  the 
first  privation  or  effort,  that  confirms  almost  all  the  weaknesses  of 
body  or  mind.     As  we  loitered  up  the  long,  winding  ascent  of  the 

179 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

road  from    Rouane,  we  occasionally  approached   the  brink  of  some 
Alpine  declivity  tufted  with  pine  trees,  and  noticed  the  white  villas, 
clustering   [or]   scattered,  which   in  all   directions  spotted   the  very 
summits    of   that    vast   and    gradual    amphitheatre    of   hills    which 
overlooked  the  neighbouring  town.       The  Bourbonnois  is  the  first 
large  chain  of  hills  piled   one   upon   another,  and  extending   range 
beyond  range,  that  you  come  to   on   the   route   to   Italy,   and   that 
occupy  a  wide-spread  district,  like  a  mighty  conqueror,  with  uniform 
and    growing    magnificence.     To    those    who    have     chiefly    seen 
detached  mountains  or  abrupt  precipices  rising  from  the  level  surface 
of  the  ground,  the  effect  is  exceedingly  imposing  and  grand.      The 
descent  on  the  other  side  into  Tarare  is  more  sudden  and  dangerous  ; 
and  you  avoid  passing   over  the   top  of  the  mountain  (along  which 
the  road  formerly  ran)  by  one  of  those  fine,  broad,  firmly-cemented 
roads  with  galleries  and  bridges,  which  bespeak  at  once  the  master- 
hand  that  raised  them.     Tarare  is  a  neat  little  town,  famous  for  the 
manufacture  of  serges  and  calicoes.     We  had  to  stop  here  for  three- 
quarters  of  an  hour,  waiting  for  fresh  horses ;   and  as  we  sat  in  the 
coupe  in  this  helpless  state,  the  horses  taken  out,  the  sun  shining  in, 
and  the  wind  piercing  through  every  cranny  of  the  broken  panes  and 
rattling  sash-windows,  the  postilion  came  up  and  demanded  to  know 
if  we   were   English,    as    there   were   two    English   gentlemen   who 
would  be  glad  to  see  us.     I  excused  myself  from  getting  out,  but 
said    I    should    be    happy    to    speak    to    them.     Accordingly,    my 
informant  beckoned  to  a  young  man  in  black,  who  was  standing  at  a 
little  distance  in  a  state  of  anxious  expectation,  and  who  coming  to 
the  coach-door  said,  he  presumed  we  were  from  London,  and  that 
he  had  taken  the  liberty  to  pay  his  respects  to  us.      His  friend,  he 
said,  who  was  staying  with  him,  was  ill  in  bed,  or  he  would  have 
done  himself  the  same  pleasure.     He  had  on  a  pair  of  wooden  clogs, 
turned  up  and  pointed  at  the   toes   in  the   manner   of  the  country 
(which  he  recommended  to  me  as  useful  for  climbing  the  hills  if 
ever  I  should  come  into  those  parts)  warm  worsted  mittens,  and  had 
a   thin,   genteel,   shivering   aspect.       I   expected  every  moment  he 
would  tell  me  his  name  or  business ;  but  all  I  learnt  was  that  he  and 
his  friend  had  been  here  some  time,   and  that  they  could  not  get 
away  till  spring,  that  there  were  no  entertainments,  that  trade  was 
flat,  and  that  the  French  seemed  to  him  a  very  different  people  from 
the   English.     The  fact  is,  he  found  himself  quite  at  a  loss  in  a 
French  country-town,  and  had  no  other  resource  or  way  of  amusing 
himself,  than  by  looking  out  for  the  Diligences  as  they  passed,  and 
trying  to  hear  news  from  England.     He  stood  at  his  own  door,  and 
waved  his  hand  with  a  melancholy  air  as  we  rode  by,  and  no  doubt 
1 80 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

instantly  went  up  stairs  to  communicate  to  his  sick  friend,  that  he 
had  conversed  with  two  English  people. 

Our  delay  at  Tarare  had  deprived  us  of  nearly  an  hour  of  day- 
light ;  and,  besides,  the  miserable  foundered  jades  of  horses,  that 
we  had  to  get  on  with  in  this  paragon  of  Diligences,  were  quite 
unequal  to  the  task  of  dragging  it  up  and  down  the  hills  on  the  road 
to  Lyons,  which  was  still  twenty  miles  distant.  The  night  was 
dark,  and  we  had  no  light.  I  found  it  was  quite  hopeless  when  we 
should  reach  our  journey's  end  (if  we  did  not  break  our  necks  by 
the  way)  and  that  both  were  matters  of  very  great  indifference  to 
Mons.  le  Conducteur,  who  was  only  bent  on  saving  the  pockets  of 
Messieurs  his  employers,  and  who  had  no  wish,  like  me,  to  see  the 
Vatican  !  He  affected  to  make  bargains  for  horses,  which  always 
failed  and  added  to  our  delay ;  and  lighted  his  lantern  once  or  twice, 
but  it  always  went  out.  At  last  I  said  that  I  had  intended  to  give 
him  a  certain  sum  for  himself,  but  that  if  we  did  not  arrive  in  Lyons 
by  ten  o'clock  at  night,  he  might  depend  upon  it  I  would  not  give 
him  a  single  farthing.  This  had  the  desired  effect.  He  got  out 
at  the  next  village  we  came  to,  and  three  stout  horses  were  fastened 
to  the  harness.  He  also  procured  a  large  piece  of  candle  (with  a 
reserve  of  another  piece  of  equal  length  and  thickness  in  his  lantern) 
and  held  it  in  his  hand  the  whole  way,  only  shifting  it  from  one 
hand  to  the  other,  as  he  grew  tired,  and  biting  his  lips  and  making 
wry  faces  at  this  new  office  of  a  candelabrum,  which  had  been  thrust 
upon  him  much  against  his  will.  I  was  not  sorry,  for  he  was  one  of 
the  most  disagreeable  Frenchmen  I  ever  met  with,  having  all 
the  indifference  and  self-sufficiency  of  his  countrymen  with  none  of 
their  usual  obligingness.  He  seemed  to  me  a  person  out  of  his  place 
(a  thing  you  rarely  discover  in  France) — a  broken-down  tradesman, 
or  '  one  that '  had  had  misfortunes,'  and  who  neither  liked  nor  was 
fit  for  his  present  situation  of  Conducteur  to  a  Diligence  without 
funds,  without  horses,  and  without  passengers.  We  arrived  in  safety 
at  Lyons  at  eleven  o'clock  at  night,  and  were  conducted  to  the  Hotel 
des  Couriers,  where  we,  with  some  difficulty,  procured  a  lodging  and 
a  supper,  and  were  attended  by  a  brown,  greasy,  dark-haired,  good- 
humoured,  awkward  gypsey  of  a  wench  from  the  south  of  France, 
who  seemed  just  caught ;  stared  and  laughed,  and  forgot  every  thing 
she  went  for ;  could  not  help  exclaiming  every  moment — '  Que 
Madame  a  le  peau  blanc  !  '  from  the  contrast  to  her  own  dingy  com- 
plexion and  dirty  skin,  took  a  large  brass-pan  of  scalding  milk,  came 
and  sat  down  by  me  on  a  bundle  of  wood,  and  drank  it ;  said  she  had 
had  no  supper,  for  her  head  ached,  and  declared  the  English  were 
braves  gens,  and  that  the  Bourbons  were  Ions  enfans,  started  up  to 

i8i 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

look  through  the  key-hole,  and  whispered  through  her  broad  strong- 
set  teeth,  that  a  fine  Madam  was  descending  the  staircase,  who  had 
been  to  dine  with  a  great  gentleman,  oiFered  to  take  away  the  supper 
things,  left  them,  and  called  us  the  next  morning  with  her  head  and 
senses  in  a  state  of  even  greater  confusion  than  they  were  over-night. 
The  familiarity  of  common  servants  in  France  surprises  the  English 
at  first ;  but  it  has  nothing  offensive  in  it,  any  more  than  the  good 
natured  gambols  and  freedoms  of  a  Newfoundland  dog.  It  is  quite 
natural. 

Lyons  is  a  fine,  dirty  town.  The  streets  are  good,  but  so  high 
and  narrow,  that  they  look  like  sinks  of  filth  and  gloom.  The  shops 
are  mere  diingeons.  Yet  two  noble  rivers  water  the  city,  the  Rhone 
and  the  Saone — the  one  broad  and  majestic,  the  other  more  confined 
and  impetuous  in  its  course,  and  join  a  little  below  the  town  to  pour 
their  friendly  streams  into  the  Mediterranean.  The  square  is  spacious 
and  handsome,  and  the  heights  of  St.  Just,  that  overlook  it,  command 
a  fine  view  of  the  town,  the  bridges,  both  rivers,  the  hills  of  Provence, 
the  road  to  Chambery,  and  the  Alps,  with  their  snowy  tops  propping 
the  clouds.  The  sight  of  them  effectually  deterred  me  from  attempt- 
ing to  go  by  Geneva  and  the  Simplon  ;  and  we  were  contented  (for 
this  time)  with  the  humbler  passage  of  Mount  Cenis.  Here  is  the 
Hotel  de  Notre  Dame  de  Piete,  which  is  shewn  you  as  the  inn  where 
Rousseau  stopped  on  his  way  to  Paris,  when  he  went  to  overturn  the 
French  Monarchy  by  the  force  of  style.  I  thought  of  him,  as  we 
came  down  the  mountain  of  Tarare,  in  his  gold-laced  hat,  and  with 
Kxsjet  d'eau  playing.  If  they  could  but  have  known  who  was  coming, 
how  many  battalions  would  have  been  sent  out  to  meet  him ;  what 
a  ringing  of  alarm-bells,  what  a  beating  of  drums,  what  raising  of 
drawbridges,  what  barring  of  gates,  what  examination  of  passports, 
what  processions  of  priests,  what  meetings  of  magistrates,  what 
confusion  in  the  towns,  what  a  panic  through  the  country,  what 
telegraphic  despatches  to  the  Court  of  Versailles,  what  couriers 
posting  to  all  parts  of  Europe,  what  manifestoes  from  armies,  what 
a  hubbub  of  Holy  Alliances,  and  all  for  what  ?  To  prevent  one 
man  from  speaking  what  he  and  every  other  man  felt,  and  whose 
only  fault  was  that  the  beatings  of  the  human  heart  had  found  an 
echo  in  his  pen !  At  Lyons  I  saw  this  inscription  over  a  door  : 
let  on  trouve  le  seul  it  unique  depot  de  I'encre  sans  pareil  et  incorruptible — 
which  appeared  to  me  to  contain  the  whole  secret  of  French  poetry. 
I  went  into  a  shop  to  buy  M.  Martine's  Death  of  Socrates,  which  I 
saw  in  the  window,  but  they  would  neither  let  me  have  that  copy  nor 
get  me  another.  The  French  are  not  '  a  nation  of  shopkeepers.' 
They  had  quite  as  lieve  see  you  walk  out  of  their  shops  as  come  into 
182 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

them.  While  I  was  waiting  for  an  answer,  a  French  servant  in 
livery  brought  in  four  volumes  of  the  History  of  a  Foundling,  an 
improved  translation,  in  which  it  was  said  the  morceaux  omitted 
by  M.  de  la  Place  were  restored.  I  was  pleased  to  see  my  old 
acquaintance  Tom  Jones,  with  his  French  coat  on.  The  poetry 
of  M.  Alphonse  Martine  and  of  M.  Casimir  de  la  Vigne  circulates 
in  the  provinces  and  in  Italy,  through  the  merit  of  the  authors  and 
the  favour  of  the  critics.  L.  H.  tells  me  that  the  latter  is  a  great 
Bonapartist,  and  talks  of  '  the  tombs  of  the  brave.'  He  said  I  might 
form  some  idea  of  M.  Martine's  attempts  to  be  great  and  unfrenchified 
by  the  frontispiece  to  one  of  his  poems,  in  which  a  young  gentleman 
in  an  heroic  attitude  is  pointing  to  the  sea  in  a  storm,  with  his  other 
hand  round  a  pretty  girl's  waist.  I  told  H.  this  poet  had  lately 
married  a  lady  of  fortune.  He  said,  '  That 's  the  girl.'  He  also 
said  very  well,  I  thought,  that  '  the  French  seemed  born  to  puzzle 
the  Germans.'  Why  are  there  not  salt-spoons  in  France  ?  In 
England  it  is  a  piece  of  barbarism  to  put  your  knife  into  a  salt-cellar 
with  another.  But  in  France  the  distinction  between  grossness  and 
refinement  is  done  away.     Every  thing  there  is  refined  ! 


CHAPTER  XIV 

There  was  a  Diligence  next  day  for  Turin  over  Mount  Cenis,  which 
went  only  twice  a  week  (stopping  at  night)  and  I  was  glad  to  secure 
(as  I  thought)  two  places  in  the  interior  at  seventy  francs  a  seat,  for 
240  miles.  The  fare  from  Paris  to  Lyons,  a  distance  of  360  miles, 
was  only  fifty  francs  each,  which  is  four  times  as  cheap ;  but  the 
difference  was  accounted  for  to  me,  from  there  being  no  other  convey- 
ance, which  was  an  arbitrary  reason,  and  from  the  number  and  expense 
of  horses  necessary  to  drag  a  heavy  double  coach  over  mountainous 
roads.  Besides,  it  was  a  Royal  Messagerie,  and  I  was  given  to 
understand  that  Messrs.  Bonnafoux  paid  the  King  of  Sardinia  a 
thousand  crowns  a  year  for  permission  to  run  a  Diligence  through 
his  territories.  The  knave  of  a  waiter  (I  found)  had  cheated  me; 
and  that  from  Chambery  there  was  only  one  place  in  the  interior  and 
one  in  the  coupe,  which  turned  out  to  be  a  cabriolet,  a  place  in  front 
with  a  leathern  apron  and  curtains,  which  in  winter  time,  and  in 
travelling  over  snowy  mountains  and  through  icy  valleys,  was  not  a 
situation  '  devoutly  to  be  wished.'  I  had  no  other  resource,  however, 
having  paid  my  four  pounds  in  advance  at  the  over-pressing  instances 
of  the  Garfon,  but  to  call  him  a  coquin,  (which  being  a  Milanese  was 

183 


NOTES   OF   A   JOURNEY 

not  quite  safe)  to  throw  out  broad  hints  (a  P Anglais)  of  a  collusion 
between  him  and  the  Office,  and  to  arrange  as  well  as  I  could  with 
the  Conducteur,  that  I  and  my  fellow-traveller  should  not  be  separated. 
I  would  advise  all  English  people  travelling  abroad  to  take  their  own 
places  at  coach-offices,  and  not  to  trust  to  waiters,  who  will  make  a 
point  of  tricking  them,  both  as  a  principle  and  pastime  ;  and  further 
to  procure  letters  of  recommendation  (in  case  of  disagreeable  accidents 
on  the  road)  for  it  was  a  knowledge  of  this  kind,  namely,  that  I  had 
a  letter  of  introduction  to  one  of  the  Professors  of  the  College  at 
Lyons,  that  procured  me  even  the  trifling  concession  above-mentioned, 
through  the  influence  which  the  landlady  of  the  Hotel  had  with  the 
Conducteur :  otherwise,  instead  of  being  stuck  in  the  cabriolet,  I 
might  have  mounted  on  the  imperial,  and  any  signs  of  vexation  or 
impatience  I  might  have  exhibited,  would  have  been  construed  into 
ebullitions  of  the  national  character,  and  a  want  of  bienseance  in 
Monsieur  I'Anglois.  The  French,  and  foreigners  in  general,  (as 
far  as  I  have  seen)  are  civil,  polite,  easy-tempered,  obliging  ;  but 
the  art  of  keeping  up  plausible  appearances  stands  them  in  lieu  of 
downright  honesty.  They  think  they  have  a  right  to  cheat  you  if 
they  can  (a  compliment,  a  civil  bow,  a  shrug,  is  worth  the  money  ! ) 
and  the  instant  you  find  out  the  imposition  or  begin  to  complain,  they 
turn  away  from  you  as  a  disagreeable  or  wrong-headed  person,  and 
you  can  get  no  redress  but  by  main  force.  It  is  not  the  original 
transgressor,  but  he  who  declares  he  is  aggrieved,  that  is  considered 
as  guilty  of  a  breach  of  good  manners,  and  a  disturber  of  the  social 
compact.  I  think  one  is  more  irritated  at  the  frequent  impositions 
that  are  practised  on  one  abroad,  because  the  novelty  of  the  scene, 
one's  ignorance  of  the  ways  of  the  world,  and  the  momentary  excite- 
ment of  the  spirits  and  of  the  flush  of  hope,  have  a  tendency  to  renew 
in  one's  mind  the  unsuspecting  simplicity  and  credulity  of  youth  ;  and 
the  petty  tricks  and  shuffling  behaviour  we  meet  with  on  the  road 
are  a  greater  baulk  to  our  warm,  sanguine,  buoyant,  travelling 
impulses. 

Annoyed  at  the  unfair  way  in  which  we  had  been  treated,  and  at 
the  idea  of  being  left  to  the  mercy  of  the  Conducteur,  whose  '  honest, 
sonsie,  bawsont  face '  had,  however,  no  more  of  the  fox  in  it  than 
implied  an  eye  to  his  own  interest,  and  might  be  turned  to  our  own 
advantage,  we  took  our  seats  numerically  in  the  Royal  Diligence  of 
Italy,  at  seven  in  the  evening  (January  20)  and  for  some  time  suffered 
the  extreme  penalties  of  a  French  stage-coach — not  indeed  '  the  icy 
fang  and  season's  difference,'  but  a  very  purgatory  of  heat,  closeness, 
confinement,  and  bad  smells.  Nothing  can  surpass  it  but  the  section 
of  a  slave-ship,  or  the  Black-hole  of  Calcutta.     Mr.  Theodore  Hook 

184 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

or  Mr.  Croker  should  take  an  airing  in  this  way  on  the  Continent, 
in  order  to  give  them  a  notion  of,  and  I  should  think,  a  distaste  for 
the  blessings  of  the  Middle  Passage.  Not  only  were  the  six  places 
in  the  interior  all  taken,  and  all  full,  but  they  had  suspended  a  wicker 
basket  (like  a  hen-coop)  from  the  top  of  the  coach,  stuffed  with  fur- 
caps,  hats,  overalls,  and  different  parcels,  so  as  to  make  it  impossible 
to  move  one  way  or  other,  and  to  stop  every  remaining  breath  of  air. 
A  negociant  at  my  right-hand  corner,  who  was  inclined  to  piece  out  a 
lengthened  recital  ^vith  a  parce  que  and  a  de  sorte  que  at  every  word, 
having  got  upon  ticklish  ground,  without  seeing  his  audience,  was  cut 
short  in  the  flower  of  his  oratory,  by  asserting  that  Barcelona  and 
St.  Sebastian's  in  Spain  were  contiguous  to  each  other.  '  They  were 
at  opposite  sides  of  the  country,'  exclaimed  in  the  same  breath  a 
French  soldier  and  a  Spaniard,  who  sat  on  the  other  side  of  the 
coach,  and  whom  he  was  regaling  with  the  gallant  adventures  of  a 
friend  of  his  in  the  Peninsula,  and  not  finding  the  usual  excuse — 
'  Cest  igaV — applicable  to  a  blunder  in  geography,  was  contented  to 
fall  into  the  rear  of  the  discourse  for  the  rest  of  the  journey.  At 
midnight  we  found  that  we  had  gone  only  nine  miles  in  five  hours, 
as  we  had  been  climbing  a  gradual  ascent  from  the  time  we  set  out, 
which  was  our  first  essay  in  mountain-scenery,  and  gave  us  some 
idea  of  the  scale  of  the  country  we  were  beginning  to  traverse.  The 
heat  became  less  insupportable  as  the  noise  and  darkness  subsided ; 
and  as  the  morning  dawned,  we  were  anxious  to  remove  that  veil  of 
uncertainty  and  prejudice  which  the  obscurity  of  night  throws  over  a 
number  of  passengers  whom  accident  has  huddled  together  in  a  stage- 
coach. I  think  one  seldom  finds  one's-self  set  down  in  a  party  of 
this  kind  without  a  strong  feeling  of  repugnance  and  distaste,  and  one 
seldom  quits  it  at  last  without  some  degree  of  regret.  It  was  the 
case  in  the  present  instance.  At  day-break,  the  pleasant  farms,  the 
thatched  cottages,  and  sloping  valleys  of  Savoy  attracted  our  notice, 
and  I  was  struck  with  the  resemblance  to  England  (to  some  parts  of 
Devonshire  and  Somersetshire  in  particular)  a  discovery  which  I 
imparted  to  my  fellow-travellers  with  a  more  lively  enthusiasm  than 
it  was  received.  An  Englishman  thinks  he  has  only  to  communicate 
his  feelings  to  others  to  meet  with  sympathy,  and  is  not  a  little 
disconcerted  if  (after  this  amazing  act  of  condescension)  he  is  at  all 
repulsed.  How  should  we  laugh  at  a  Frenchman  who  expected  us 
to  be  delighted  with  his  finding  out  a  likeness  of  some  part  of 
England  to  France  ?  We  English  are  a  nation  of  egotists,  say  what 
we  will ;  and  so  much  so,  that  we  expect  others  to  swallow  the  bait 
of  our  self-love. 

At  Pont  Beau-Voisin,  the  frontier  town  of  the  King  of  Sardinia's 

i8s 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

dominions,  we  stopped  to  breakfast,  and  to  have  our  passports  and 
luggage  examined  at  the  Barrier  and  Custom-house.  I  breakfasted 
with  the  Spaniard,  who  invited  himself  to  our  tea-party,  and  compli- 
mented Madame  (in  broken  English)  on  the  excellence  of  her 
performance.  We  agreed  between  ourselves  that  the  Spaniards  and 
English  were  very  much  superior  to  the  French.  I  found  he  had 
a  taste  for  the  Fine  Arts,  and  I  spoke  of  Murillo  and  Velasquez  as 
two  excellent  Spanish  painters.  '  Here  was  sympathy.'  I  also 
spoke  of  Don  Quixote — 'Here  was  more  sympathy.'  What  a  thing 
it  is  to  have  produced  a  work  that  makes  friends  of  all  the  world  that 
have  read  it,  and  that  all  the  world  have  read !  Mention  but  Don 
Quixote,  and  who  is  there  that  does  not  own  him  for  a  friend, 
countryman,  and  brother  ?  There  is  no  French  work,  at  the  name 
of  which  (as  at  a  talisman)  the  scales  of  national  prejudice  so 
completely  fall  off;  nay  more,  I  must  confess  there  is  no  English 
one.  We  were  summoned  from  our  tea  and  patriotic  effusions  to 
attend  the  Douane.  It  was  striking  to  have  to  pass  and  repass  the 
piquets  of  soldiers  stationed  as  a  guard  on  bridges  across  narrow 
mountain-streams  that  a  child  might  leap  over.  After  some  slight 
dalliance  with  our  great-coat  pockets,  and  significant  gestures  as  if 
we  might  or  might  not  have  things  of  value  about  us  that  we  should 
not,  we  proceeded  to  the  Custom-house.  I  had  two  trunks.  One 
contained  books.  When  it  was  unlocked,  it  was  as  if  the  lid  of 
Pandora's  box  flew  open.  There  could  not  have  been  a  more  sudden 
start  or  expression  of  surprise,  had  it  been  filled  with  cartridge- 
paper  or  gun-powder.  Books  were  the  corrosive  sublimate  that 
eat  out  despotism  and  priestcraft — the  artillery  that  battered  down 
castle  and  dungeon-walls — the  ferrets  that  ferreted  out  abuses- — the 
lynx-eyed  guardians  that  tore  off  disguises — the  scales  that  weighed 
right  and  wrong — the  thumping  make-weight  thrown  into  the  balance 
that  made  force  and  fraud,  the  sword  and  the  cowl,  kick  the  beam — 
the  dread  of  knaves,  the  scoff  of  fools — the  balm  and  the  consolation 
of  the  human  mind — the  salt  of  the  earth — the  future  rulers  of  the 
world !  A  box  full  of  them  was  a  contempt  of  the  constituted 
Authorities ;  and  the  names  of  mine  were  taken  down  with  great  care 
and  secrecy — Lord  Bacon's  '  Advancement  of  Learning,'  Milton's 
'  Paradise  Lost,'  De  Stutt-Tracey's  '  Ideologic,'  (which  Bonaparte 
said  ruined  his  Russian  expedition,)  Mignet's  'French  Revolution,' 
(which  wants  a  chapter  on  the  English  Government,)  'Sayings  and 
Doings,'  with  pencil  notes  in  the  margin,  '  Irving's  Orations,'  the 
same,  an  '  Edinburgh  Review,'  some  '  Morning  Chronicles,'  '  The 
Literary  Examiner,'  a  collection  of  Poetry,  a  Volume  bound  in 
crimson  velvet,  and  the  Paris  edition  of  '  Table-talk.'  Here  was 
i86 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

some  questionable  matter  enough — but  no  notice  was  taken.  My  box 
was  afterwards  corded  and  leaded  with  equal  gravity  and  politeness, 
and  it  was  not  till  I  arrived  at  Turin  that  I  found  it  was  a  prisoner  of 
state,  and  would  be  forwarded  to  me  anywhere  I  chose  to  mention, 
out  of  his  Sardinian  Majesty's  dominions.  I  was  startled  to  find 
myself  within  the  smooth  polished  grasp  of  legitimate  power,  without 
suspecting  it ;  and  was  glad  to  recover  my  trunk  at  Florence,  with 
no  other  inconvenience  than  the  expense  of  its  carriage  across  the 
country.! 

It  was  noon  as  we  returned  to  the  inn,  and  we  first  caught  a  full 

^  At  Milan,  a  short  time  ago,  a  gentleman  had  a  Homer,  in  Greek  and  Latin, 
among  his  books.  He  was  surlily  asked  to  explain  what  it  meant.  Upon  doing 
so,  the  Inspector  shook  his  head  doubtingly,  and  said,  'it  might  pass  this  time," 
but  advised  him  to  beware  of  a  second,     '  Here,  now,  is  a  work,'  he  continued, 

pointing  to 's  Lives  of  the  Popes,  containing  all  the  abominations  (public  and 

private)  of  their  history, '  You  should  bring  such  books  as  this  with  you  ! '  This 
is  one  specimen  of  that  learned  conspiracy  for  the  suppression  of  light  and  letters, 
of  which  we  are  sleeping  partners  and  honorary  associates.  The  Allies  complain 
at  present  of  Mr.  Canning's  'faithlessness.'  Oh  !  that  he  would  indeed  play  them 
false  and  earn  his  title  of  'slippery  George  !'  Faithful  to  anything  he  cannot  be — 
faithless  to  them  would  be  something.  The  Austrians,  it  is  said,  have  lately 
attempted  to  strike  the  name  of  Italy  out  of  the  maps,  that  that  country  may 
neither  have  a  name,  a  body,  or  a  soul  left  to  it,  and  even  to  suppress  the  publica- 
tion of  its  finest  historians,  that  it  may  forget  it  ever  had  one.  Go  on,  obliging 
creatures  !  Blot  the  light  out  of  heaven,  tarnish  the  blue  sky  with  the  blight  and 
fog  of  despotism,  deface  and  trample  on  the  green  earth  ;  for  while  one  trace  of 
what  is  fair  or  lovely  is  left  in  the  earth  under  our  feet,  or  the  sky  over  our 
heads,  or  in  the  mind  of  man  that  is  within  us,  it  will  remain  to  mock  your 
impotence  and  deformity,  and  to  reflect  back  lasting  hatred  and  contempt  upon 
you.  Why  does  not  our  Eton  scholar,  our  classic  Statesman,  suggest  to  the  Allies 
an  intelligible  hint  of  the  propriety  of  inscribing  the  name  of  Italy  once  more  on 
the  map, 

'Like  that  ensanguined  flower  inscribed  with  woe' — 

of  taking  off  the  prohibition  on  the  Histories  of  Guicciardini  and  Davila  ?  Or 
why  do  not  the  English  people — the  English  House  of  Commons,  suggest  it  to 
him  ?  Is  there  such  a  thing  as  the  English  people — as  an  English  House  of 
Commons  ?  Their  influence  is  not  felt  at  present  in  Europe,  as  erst  it  was,  to  its 
short-lived  hope,  bought  with  flat  despair.  The  reason  is,  the  cause  of  the  people 
of  Europe  has  no  echo  in  the  breasts  of  the  British  public.  The  cause  of  Kings 
had  an  echo  in  the  breast  of  a  British  Monarch — that  of  Foreign  Governments  in 
the  breasts  of  British  Ministers  !  There  are  at  present  no  fewer  than  fifteen 
hundred  of  the  Italian  nobility  of  the  first  families  proscribed  from  their  country, 
or  pining  in  dungeons.  For  what  ?  For  trying  to  give  to  their  country  inde- 
pendence and  a  Constitutional  Government,  like  England  !  What  says  the 
English  House  of  Lords  to  that  ?  What  if  the  Russians  were  to  come  and  apply 
to  us  and  to  them  the  benefits  and  the  principles  of  the  Holy  Alliance — the 
bayonet  and  the  thumbscrew?  Lord  Bathurst  says,  'Let  them  come  ;' — and  they 
will  come  when  we  have  a  servile  people,  dead  to  liberty,  and  an  arbitrary  govern- 
ment, hating  and  ready  to  betray  it  ! 

187 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

view  of  the  Alps  over  a  plashy  meadow,  some  feathery  trees,  and  the 
tops  of  the  houses  of  the  village  in  which  we  were.  It  was  a 
magnificent  sight,  and  in  truth  a  new  sensation.  Their  summits  were 
bright  with  snow  and  with  the  midday  sun  ;  they  did  not  seem  to 
stand  upon  the  earth,  but  to  prop  the  sky  ;  they  were  at  a  considerable 
distance  from  us,  and  yet  appeared  just  over  our  heads.  The  surprise 
seemed  to  take  away  our  breath,  and  to  lift  us  from  our  feet.  It  was 
drinking  the  empyrean.  As  we  could  not  long  retain  possession  of 
our  two  places  in  the  interior,  I  proposed  to  our  guide  to  exchange 
them  for  the  cabriolet ;  and,  after  some  little  chaffering  and  candid 
representations  of  the  outside  passengers  of  the  cold  we  should  have 
to  encounter,  we  were  installed  there  to  our  great  satisfaction,  and  the 
no  less  contentment  of  those  whom  we  succeeded.  Indeed  I  had  no 
idea  that  we  should  be  steeped  in  these  icy  valleys  at  three  o'clock  in 
the  morning,  or  I  might  have  hesitated.  The  view  was  cheering, 
the  clear  air  refreshing,  and  I  thought  we  should  set  off  each  morning 
about  seven  or  eight.  But  it  is  part  of  the  sfavoir  -vivre  in  France, 
and  one  of  the  methods  of  adding  to  the  agremens  of  travelling,  to  set 
out  three  hours  before  daybreak  in  the  depth  of  winter,  and  stop  two 
hours  about  noon,  in  order  to  arrive  early  in  the  evening.  With  all 
the  disadvantages  of  preposterous  hours  and  of  intense  cold  pouring 
into  the  cabriolet  like  water  the  two  first  mornings,  I  cannot  say 
I  repented  of  my  bargain.  We  had  come  a  thousand  miles  to  see 
the  Alps  for  one  thing,  and  we  did  see  them  in  perfection,  which  we 
could  not  have  done  inside.  The  ascent  for  some  way  was  striking 
and  full  of  novelty ;  but  on  turning  a  corner  of  the  road  we  entered 
upon  a  narrow  defile  or  rocky  ledge,  overlooking  a  steep  valley  under 
our  feet,  with  a  headlong  turbid  stream  dashing  down  it,  and  spreading 
itself  out  into  a  more  tranquil  river  below,  a  dark  wood  of  innumerable 
pine-trees  covering  the  side  of  the  valley  opposite,  with  broken  crags, 
morasses,  and  green  plots  of  cultivated  ground,  orchards,  and  quiet 
homesteads,  on  which  the  sun  glanced  its  farewell  rays  through  the 
openings  of  the  mountains.  On  our  left,  a  precipice  of  dark  brown 
rocks  of  various  shapes  rose  abruptly  at  our  side,  or  hung  threatening 
over  the  road,  into  which  some  of  their  huge  fragments,  loosened  by 
the  winter's  flaw,  had  fallen,  and  which  men  and  mules  were 
employed  in  removing — (the  thundering  crash  had  hardly  yet  sub- 
sided, as  you  looked  up  and  saw  the  fleecy  clouds  sailing  among  the 
shattered  cliffs,  while  another  giant-mass  seemed  ready  to  quit  its 
station  in  the  sky) — and  as  the  road  wound  along  to  the  other 
extremity  of  this  noble  pass,  between  the  beetling  rocks  and  dark 
sloping  pine-forests,  frowning  defiance  at  each  other,  you  caught  the 
azure  sky,  the  snowy  ridges  of  the  mountains,  and  the  peaked  tops  of 
i88 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

the  Grand  Chartreuse,  waving  to  the  right  in  solitary  state  and  air- 
clad  brightness. — It  was  a  scene  dazzling,  enchanting,  and  that 
stamped  the  long-cherished  dreams  of  the  imagination  upon  the 
senses.  Between  those  four  crystal  peaks  stood  the  ancient  monastery 
of  that  name,  hid  from  the  sight,  revealed  to  thought,  half-way 
between  earth  and  heaven,  enshrined  in  its  cerulean  atmosphere, 
lifting  the  soul  to  its  native  home,  and  purifying  it  from  mortal 
grossness.  I  cannot  wonder  at  the  pilgrimages  that  are  made  to  it, 
its  calm  repose,  its  vows  monastic.  Life  must  there  seem  a  noiseless 
dream ; — Death  a  near  translation  to  the  skies  I  Winter  was  even 
an  advantage  to  this  scene.  The  black  forests,  the  dark  sides  of  the 
rocks  gave  additional  and  inconceivable  brightness  to  the  glittering 
summits  of  the  lofty  mountains,  and  received  a  deeper  tone  and  a 
more  solemn  gloom  from  them  ;  while  in  the  open  spaces  the  unvaried 
sheets  of  snow  fatigue  the  eye,  which  requires  the  contrast  of  the 
green  tints  or  luxuriant  foliage  of  summer  or  of  spring.  This  was 
more  particularly  perceptible  as  the  day  closed,  when  the  golden 
sunset  streamed  in  vain  over  frozen  valleys  that  imbibed  no  richness 
from  it,  and  repelled  its  smile  from  their  polished  marble  surface. 
But  in  the  more  gloomy  and  desert  regions,  the  difference  is  less 
remarkable  between  summer  and  winter,  except  in  the  beginning  of 
spring,  when  the  summits  of  the  hoary  rocks  are  covered  with  snow, 
and  the  cleft[s]  in  their  sides  are  filled  with  fragrant  shrubs  and 
flowers.     I  hope  to  see  this  miracle  when  I  return. 

We  came  to  Echelles,  where  we  changed  horses  with  great 
formality  and  preparation,  as  if  setting  out  on  some  formidable 
expedition.  Six  large  strong-boned  horses  with  high  haunches  (used 
to  ascend  and  descend  mountains)  were  put  to,  the  rope-tackle  was 
examined  and  repaired,  and  our  two  postilions  mounted  and  dis- 
mounted more  than  once,  before  they  seemed  willing  to  set  off,  which 
they  did  at  last  at  a  hand-gallop,  that  was  continued  for  some  miles. 
It  is  nothing  to  see  English  blood-horses  get  over  the  ground  with 
such  prodigious  fleetness  and  spirit,  but  it  is  really  curious  to  see  the 
huge  cart-horses,  that  they  use  for  Diligences  abroad,  lumbering  along 
and  making  the  miles  disappear  behind  them  with  their  ponderous 
strength  and  persevering  activity.  The  road  for  some  way  rattled 
under  their  heavy  hoofs,  and  the  heavy  wheels  that  they  dragged  or 
whirled  along  at  a  thundering  pace ;  the  postilions  cracked  their 
whips,  and  the  one  in  front  (a  dark,  swarthy,  short-set  fellow) 
flourished  his,  shouted  and  hallooed,  and  turned  back  to  vociferate  his 
instructions  to  his  companion  with  the  robust  energy  and  wildness  of 
expression  of  a  smuggler  or  a  leader  of  banditti,  carrying  off  a  rich 
booty  from  a  troop  of  soldiers.     There  was  something  in  the  scenery 

i8g 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

to  favour  this  idea.  Night  was  falling  as  we  entered  the  superb 
tunnel  cut  through  the  mountain  at  La  Grotte  (a  work  attributed  to 
Victor-Emanuel,  with  the  same  truth  that  FalstafFtook  to  himself  the 
merit  of  the  death  of  Hotspur),  and  its  iron  floor  rang,  the  whips 
cracked,  and  the  roof  echoed  to  the  clear  voice  of  our  intrepid 
postilion  as  we  dashed  through  it.  Our  path  then  wound  among 
romantic  defiles,  where  huge  masses  of  snow  and  the  gathering  gloom 
threatened  continually  to  bar  our  way ;  but  it  seemed  cleared  by  the 
lively  shout  of  our  guide,  and  the  carriage-wheels,  clogged  with  ice, 
rolled  after  the  heavy  tramp  of  the  horses.  In  this  manner  we  rode 
on  through  a  country  full  of  wild  grandeur  and  shadowy  fears,  till  we 
had  nearly  reached  the  end  of  our  day's  journey,  when  we  dismissed 
our  two  fore-horses  and  their  rider,  to  whom  I  presented  a  trifling 
douceur  '  for  the  sake  of  his  good  voice  and  cheerful  countenance.' 
The  descent  into  Chambery  was  the  most  dangerous  part  of  the  road, 
and  our  horses  were  nearly  thrown  on  their  haunches  several  times. 
The  road  was  narrow  and  slippery ;  there  were  a  number  of  market- 
carts  returning  from  the  town,  and  there  was  a  declivity  on  one  side, 
which,  though  not  a  precipice,  was  quite  sufficient  to  have  dashed  us 
to  pieces  in  a  common-place  way.  We  arrived  at  Chambery  in  the 
dusk  of  the  evening ;  and  there  is  surely  a  charm  in  the  name,  and  in 
that  of  the  Charmettes  near  it  (where  he  who  relished  all  more 
sharply  than  his  fellows,  and  made  them  feel  for  him  as  for  them- 
selves, alone  felt  peace  or  hope),  which  even  the  Magdalen  Muse 
of  Mr.  Moore  has  not  been  able  to  unsing !  We  alighted  at  the  inn 
fatigued  enough,  and  were  delighted  on  being  shewn  to  a  room  to  find 
the  floor  of  wood,  and  English  teacups  and  saucers.  We  were  in 
Savoy. 

We  set  out  early  the  next  morning,  and  it  was  the  most  trying 
part  of  our  whole  journey.  The  wind  cut  like  a  scythe  through  the 
valleys,  and  a  cold,  icy  feeling  struck  from  the  sides  of  the  snowy 
precipices  that  surrounded  us,  so  that  we  seemed  enclosed  in  a  huge 
well  of  mountains.  We  got  to  St.  Jean  de  Maurienne  to  breakfast 
about  noon,  where  the  only  point  agreed  upon  appeared  to  be  to  have 
nothing  ready  to  receive  us.  This  was  the  most  tedious  day  of  all ; 
nor  did  we  meet  with  any  thing  to  repay  us  for  our  uncomfortable 
setting  out.  We  travelled  through  a  scene  of  desolation,  were  chilled 
in  sunless  valleys  or  dazzled  by  sunny  mountain-tops,  passed  frozen 
streams  or  gloomy  cavities,  that  might  be  transformed  into  the  scene 
of  some  Gothic  wizard's  spell,  or  reminded  one  of  some  German 
novel.  Let  no  one  imagine  that  the  crossing  the  Alps  is  the  work 
of  a  moment,  or  done  by  a  single  heroic  effort — that  they  are  a  huge 
but  detached  chain  of  hills,  or  like  the  dotted  line  we  find  in  the 
190 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

map.  They  are  a  sea  or  an  entire  kingdom  of  mountains.  It  took 
us  three  days  to  traverse  them  in  this,  which  is  the  most  practicable 
direction,  and  travelling  at  a  good  round  pace.  We  passed  on  as  far 
as  eye  could  see,  and  still  we  appeared  to  have  made  little  way. 
Still  we  were  in  the  shadow  of  the  same  enormous  mass  of  rock  and 
snow,  by  the  side  of  the  same  creeping  stream.  Lofty  mountains 
reared  themselves  in  front  of  us — horrid  abysses  were  scooped  out 
under  our  feet.  Sometimes  the  road  wound  along  the  side  of  a  steep 
hill,  overlooking  some  village-spire  or  hamlet,  and  as  we  ascended  it, 
it  only  gave  us  a  view  of  remoter  scenes,  '  where  Alps  o'er  Alps 
arise,'  tossing  about  their  billowy  tops,  and  tumbling  their  unwieldy 
shapes  in  all  directions — a  world  of  wonders! — Any  one,  who  is 
much  of  an  egotist,  ought  not  to  travel  through  these  districts ;  his 
vanity  will  not  find  its  account  in  them ;  it  will  be  chilled,  mortified, 
shrunk  up :  but  they  are  a  noble  treat  to  those  who  feel  themselves 
raised  in  their  own  thoughts  and  in  the  scale  of  being  by  the 
immensity  of  other  things,  and  who  can  aggrandise  and  piece  out 
their  personal  insignificance  by  the  grandeur  and  eternal  forms  of 
nature !  It  gives  one  a  vast  idea  of  Buonaparte  to  think  of  him  in 
these  situations.  He  alone  (the  Rob  Roy  of  the  scene)  seemed  a 
match  for  the  elements,  and  able  to  master  '  this  fortress,  built  by 
nature  for  herself.'  Neither  impeded  nor  turned  aside  by  immoveable 
barriers,  he  smote  the  mountains  with  his  iron  glaive,  and  made  them 
malleable ;  cut  roads  through  them  ;  transported  armies  over  their 
ridgy  steeps ;  and  the  rocks  '  nodded  to  him,  and  did  him  courtesies ! ' 
We  arrived  at  St.  Michelle  at  night-fall  (after  passing  through  beds 
of  ice  and  the  infernal  regions  of  cold),  where  we  met  with  a  truly 
hospitable  reception,  with  wood-floors  in  the  English  fashion,  and 
where  they  told  us  the  King  of  England  had  stopped.  This  made 
no  sort  of  difference  to  me. 

We  breakfasted  the  next  day  (being  Sunday )  at  L  ans-le-Bourg,  where 
I  observed  my  friend  the  Spaniard  busy  with  his  tables,  taking  down  the 
name  of  the  place.  The  landlady  was  a  little,  round,  fat,  good-humoured 
black-eyed  Italian  or  Savoyard,  saying  a  number  of  good  things  to  all 
her  guests,  but  sparing  of  them  otherwise.  We  were  now  at  the  foot  of 
Mount  Cenis,  and  after  breakfast  we  set  out  on  foot  before  the  Diligence, 
which  was  to  follow  us  in  half  an  hour.  We  passed  a  melancholy- 
looking  inn  at  the  end  of  the  town,  professing  to  be  kept  by  an  English- 
woman ;  but  there  appeared  to  be  nobody  about  the  house,  English, 
French,  or  Italian.  The  mistress  of  it  (a  young  woman  who  had 
married  an  Italian)  had,  in  fact,  died  a  short  time  before  of  pure  chagrin 
and  disappointment  in  this  solitary  place,  after  having  told  her  tale  of 
distress  to  every  one,  till  it  fairly  wore  her  out.    We  had  leisure  to  look 

191 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

back  to  the  town  as  we  proceeded,  and  which,  with  its  church,  stone- 
cottages,  and  slated  roofs,  shrunk  into  a  miniature-model  of  itself  as 
we  continued  to  advance  farther  and  higher  above  it.    Some  straggling 
cottages,   some   vineyards  planted   at    a    great    height,    and    another 
compact  and  well-built  village,  that  seemed  to  defy  the  extremity  of 
the  seasons,  were  seen  in  the  direction  of  the  valley  that   we   were 
pursuing.     Else    all    around  were  shapeless,  sightless   piles  of  hills 
covered  with  snow,  with  crags  or  pine-trees  or  a   foot-path   peeping 
out,  and  in  the  appearance  of  which  no  alteration  whatever  was  made 
by  our  advancing  or   receding.      We  gained  on   the  mountain  by  a 
broad,  winding  road  that  continually  doubles,  and  looks  down  upon 
the  point  from  whence  you  started  half  an  hour  before.     Some  snow 
had  fallen  in  the  morning,  but  it  was  now  fine,  though  cloudy.     We 
found  two  of  our  fellow-travellers  following  our  example,  and  they 
soon  after  overtook  us.     They  were  both  French.     We  noticed  some 
of  the  features  of  the  scenery  ;  and  a  lofty  hill  opposite  to  us  being 
scooped  out  into  a  bed  of  snow,  with  two   ridges   or  promontories 
projecting   (something  like  an  arm-chair)   on  each  side.     '■Voila!' 
said  the  younger  and  more  volatile  of  our  companions,  ^c'est  un  trone, 
et  h  nuage  est  la  gloire  !  ' — A  white  cloud  indeed  encircled  its  misty 
top.     I  complimented  him  on  the  happiness  of  his  allusion,  and  said 
that  Madame  was  pleased   with  the   exactness  of  the   resemblance. 
He  then  turned  to  the  valley,  and  said,  '  Cest  un  berceau.'     This  is 
the  height  to  which  the   imagination  of  a  Frenchman  always   soars, 
and    it  can  soar   no  higher.      Any  thing  that  is    not  cast  in   this 
obvious,  common-place   mould,  that  had  been  used  a  thousand  times 
before  with  applause,  they  think  barbarous,  and  as  they  phrase   it, 
originaire.     No  farther  notice  was  taken   of  the  scenery,  any  more 
than  if  we  had  been  walking  on  the  Boulevards  at   Paris,  and   my 
young  Frenchman  talked  of  other  things,  laughed,  sung,  and  smoked 
a  cigar  with  a  gaiety  and  lightness  of  heart  that  I  envied.     '  What  has 
become,'  said  the  elder  of  the  Frenchmen,  'of  Monsieur  I'Espagnol? 
He  does  not  easily  quit  his  seat ;  he  sits  in  one  corner,  never  looks  out, 
or  if  you  point  to  any  object,  takes  no  notice  of  it ;  and  when  you 
come  to  the  end  of  the  stage,  says — "What  is  the  name  of  that  place 
we  passed  by  last  ?  "  takes  out  his  pocket-book,  and  makes  a  note  of 
it.     "That  is  droll.'"     And  what  made  it  more  so,  it  turned  out 
that  our  Spanish  friend  was  a  painter,  travelling  to  Rome  to  study 
the  Fine  Arts !      All  the  way  as  we  ascended,  there  were  red  posts 
placed  at  the  edge  of  the  road,  ten  or  twelve  feet  in  height,  to  point 
out  the  direction  of  the  road  in  case  of  a  heavy  fall  of  snow,  and  with 
notches    cut   to   shew   the   depth   of  the  drifts.     There   were    also 
scattered  stone-hovels,  erected  as  stations  for  the  Gens  (Parmes,  who 
192 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

were  sometimes  left  here  for  several  days  together  after  a  severe 
snow-storm,  without  being  approached  by  a  single  human  being. 
One  of  these  stood  near  the  top  of  the  mountain,  and  as  we  were  tired 
of  the  walk  (which  had  occupied  two  hours)  and  of  the  uniformity 
of  the  view,  we  agreed  to  wait  here  for  the  Diligence  to  overtake  us. 
We  were  cordially  welcomed  in  by  a  young  peasant  (a  soldier's 
wife)  with  a  complexion  as  fresh  as  the  winds,  and  an  expression  as 
pure  as  the  mountain-snows.  The  floor  of  this  rude  tenement  con- 
sisted of  the  solid  rock  ;  and  a  three-legged  table  stood  on  it,  on 
which  were  placed  three  earthen  bowls  filled  with  sparkling  wine, 
heated  on  a  stove  with  sugar.  The  woman  stood  b)',  and  did  the 
honours  of  this  cheerful  repast  with  a  rustic  simplicity  and  a  pastoral 
grace  that  might  have  called  forth  the  powers  of  Hemskirk  and 
Raphael.  I  shall  not  soon  forget  the  rich  ruby  colour  of  the  wine, 
as  the  sun  shone  upon  it  through  a  low  glazed  window  that  looked 
out  on  the  boundless  wastes  around,  nor  its  grateful  spicy  smell  as 
we  sat  round  it.  I  was  complaining  of  the  trick  that  had  been 
played  by  the  waiter  at  Lyons  in  the  taking  of  our  places,  when  I 
was  told  by  the  young  Frenchman,  that,  in  case  I  returned  to  Lyons, 
I  ought  to  go  to  the  Hotel  de  I'Europe,  or  to  the  Hotel  du  Nord, 
'  in  which  latter  case  he  should  have  the  honour  of  serving  me.'  I 
thanked  him  for  his  information,  and  we  set  out  to  finish  the  ascent 
of  Mount  Cenis,  which  we  did  in  another  half-hour's  march.  The 
tratteur  of  the  Hotel  du  Nord  and  I  had  got  into  a  brisk  theatrical 
discussion  on  the  comparative  merits  of  Kean  and  Talma,  he  assert- 
ing that  there  was  something  in  French  acting  which  an  English 
understanding  could  not  appreciate  ;  and  I  insisting  loudly  on  bursts 
of  passion  as  the  forte  of  Talma,  which  was  a  language  common  to 
human  nature ;  that  in  his  (Edipus,  for  instance,  it  was  not  a  French- 
man or  an  Englishman  he  had  to  represent — '  Mais  c'est  un  homme, 
c'est  (Edipe ' — when  our  cautious  Spaniard  brushed  by  us,  determined 
to  shew  he  could  descend  the  mountain,  if  he  would  not  ascend  it  on 
foot.  His  figure  was  characteristic  enough,  his  motions  smart  and 
lively,  and  his  dress  composed  of  all  the  colours  of  the  rainbow.  He 
strutted  on  before  us  in  the  snow,  like  a  flamingo  or  some  tropical 
bird  of  variegated  plumage  ;  his  dark  purple  cloak  fluttered  in  the  air, 
his  Montero  cap,  set  a  little  on  one  side,  was  of  fawn  colour ;  his 
waistcoat  a  bright  scarlet,  his  coat  a  reddish  brown,  his  trowsers  a 
pea-green,  and  his  boots  a  perfect  yellow.  He  saluted  us  with  a 
national  politeness  as  he  passed,  and  seemed  bent  on  redeeming  the 
sedentary  sluggishness  of  his  character  by  one  bold  and  desperate 
effort  of  locomotion. 

The  coach  shortly  after  overtook  us.     We  descended  a  long  and 
VOL.  IX. :  N  193 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

steep  declivity,  with  the  highest  point  of  Mount  Cenis  on  our  left, 
and  a  lake  to  the  right,  like  a  landing-place  for  geese.  Between  the 
two  was  a  low,  white  monastery,  and  the  barrier  where  we  had  our 
passports  inspected,  and  then  went  forward  with  only  two  stout  horses 
and  one  rider.  The  snow  on  this  side  of  the  mountain  was  nearly 
gone.  I  supposed  myself  for  some  time  nearly  on  level  ground,  till 
we  came  in  view  of  several  black  chasms  or  steep  ravines  in  the  side 
of  the  mountain  facing  us,  with  water  oozing  from  it,  and  saw  through 
some  galleries,  that  is,  massy  stone-pillars  knit  together  by  thick  rails 
of  strong  timber,  guarding  the  road-side,  a  perpendicular  precipice 
below,  and  other  galleries  beyond,  diminished  in  a  fairy  perspective, 
and  descending  'with  cautious  haste  and  giddy  cunning,'  and  with 
innumerable  windings  and  re-duplications  to  an  interminable  depth  and 
distance  from  the  height  where  we  were.  The  men  and  horses  with 
carts,  that  were  labouring  up  the  path  in  the  hollow  below,  shewed 
like  crows  or  flies.  The  road  we  had  to  pass  was  often  immediately 
under  that  we  were  passing,  and  cut  from  the  side  of  what  was  all 
but  a  precipice  out  of  the  solid  rock  by  the  broad,  firm  master-hand 
that  traced  and  executed  this  mighty  work.  The  share  that  art  has 
in  the  scene  is  as  appalling  as  the  scene  itself— the  strong  security 
against  danger  as  sublime  as  the  danger  itself.  Near  the  turning  of 
one  of  the  first  galleries  is  a  beautiful  waterfall,  which  at  this  time 
was  frozen  into  a  sheet  of  green  pendant  ice — a  magical  transforma- 
tion. Long  after  we  continued  to  descend,  now  faster  and  now 
slower,  and  came  at  length  to  a  small  village  at  the  bottom  of  a 
sweeping  line  of  road,  where  the  houses  seemed  like  dove-cotes  with 
the  mountain's  back  reared  like  a  wall  behind  them,  and  which  I 
thought  the  termination  of  our  journey.  But  here  the  wonder  and  the 
greatness  began :  for,  advancing  through  a  grove  of  slender  trees  to 
another  point  of  the  road,  we  caught  a  new  view  of  the  lofty  mountain 
to  our  left.  It  stood  in  front  of  us,  with  its  head  in  the  skies,  covered 
with  snow,  and  its  bare  sides  stretching  far  away  into  a  valley  that 
yawned  at  its  feet,  and  over  which  we  seemed  suspended  in  mid  air. 
The  height,  the  magnitude,  the  immoveableness  of  the  objects,  the 
wild  contrast,  the  deep  tones,  the  dance  and  play  of  the  landscape 
from  the  change  of  our  direction  and  the  interposition  of  other 
striking  objects,  the  continued  recurrence  of  the  same  huge  masses, 
like  giants  following  us  with  unseen  strides,  stunned  the  sense  like  a 
blow,  and  yet  gave  the  imagination  strength  to  contend  with  a  force 
that  mocked  it.  Here  immeasurable  columns  of  reddish  granite 
shelved  from  the  mountain's  sides ;  here  they  were  covered  and 
stained  with  furze  and  other  shrubs  ;  here  a  chalky  cliff  shewed  a  fir- 
grove  climbing  its  tall  sides,  and  that  itself  looked  at  a  distance  like  a 
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THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

huge,  branching  pine-tree ;  beyond  was  a  dark,  projecting  knoll,  or 
hilly  promontory,  that  threatened  to  bound  the  perspective — but,  on 
drawing  nearer  to  it,  the  cloudy  vapour  that  shrouded  it  (as  it  were) 
retired,  and  opened  another  vista  beyond,  that,  in  its  own  unfathomed 
depth,  and  in  the  gradual  obscurity  of  twilight,  resembled  the 
uncertain  gloom  of  the  back-ground  of  some  fine  picture.  At  the 
bottom  of  this  valley  crept  a  sluggish  stream,  and  a  monastery  or  low 
castle  stood  upon  its  banks.  The  effect  was  altogether  grander  than 
I  had  any  conception  of.  It  was  not  the  idea  of  height  or  elevation 
that  was  obtruded  upon  the  mind  and  staggered  it,  but  we  seemed  to 
be  descending  into  the  bowels  of  the  earth — its  foundations  seemed  to 
be  laid  bare  to  the  centre ;  and  abyss  after  abyss,  a  vast,  shadowy, 
interminable  space,  opened  to  receive  us.  We  saw  the  building  up 
and  frame-work  of  the  world — its  limbs,  its  ponderous  masses,  and 
mighty  proportions,  raised  stage  upon  stage,  and  we  might  be  said  to 
have  passed  into  an  unknown  sphere,  and  beyond  mortal  limits.  As 
we  rode  down  our  winding,  circuitous  path,  our  baggage,  (which  had 
been  taken  off)  moved  on  before  us ;  a  grey  horse  that  had  got  loose 
from  the  stable  followed  it,  and  as  we  whirled  round  the  different 
turnings  in  this  rapid,  mechanical  flight,  at  the  same  rate  and  the 
same  distance  from  each  other,  there  seemed  something  like  witch- 
craft in  the  scene  and  in  our  progress  through  it.  The  moon  had  risen, 
and  threw  its  gleams  across  the  fading  twilight ;  the  snowy  tops  of 
the  mountains  were  blended  with  the  clouds  and  stars ;  their  sides 
were  shrouded  in  mysterious  gloom,  and  it  was  not  till  we  entered 
Susa,  with  its  fine  old  drawbridge  and  castellated  walls,  that  we  found 
ourselves  on  terra  Jirma,  or  breathed  common  air  again.  At  the  inn 
at  Susa,  we  first  perceived  the  difference  of  Italian  manners ;  and  the 
next  day  arrived  at  Turin,  after  passing  over  thirty  miles  of  the 
straightest,  flattest,  and  dullest  road  intthe  world.  Here  we  stopped 
two  days  to  recruit  our  strength  and  look  about  us. 


CHAPTER  XV 

My  arrival  at  Turin  was  the  first  and  only  moment  of  intoxication  I 
have  found  in  Italy.  It  is  a  city  of  palaces.  After  a  change  of 
dress  (which,  at  the  end  of  a  long  journey,  is  a  great  luxury)  I 
walked  out,  and  traversing  several  clean,  spacious  streets,  came  to  a 
promenade  outside  the  town,  from  which  I  saw  the  chain  of  Alps  we 
laad  left  behind  us,  rising  like  a  range  of  marble  pillars  in  the  evening 
sky.     Monte  Viso  and  Mount  Cenis  resembled  two  pointed  cones  of 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

ice,  shooting  up  above  all  the  rest.  I  could  distinguish  the  broad 
and  rapid  Po,  winding  along  at  the  other  extremity  of  the  walk, 
through  vineyards  and  meadow  grounds.  The  trees  had  on  that 
deep  sad  foliage,  which  takes  a  mellower  tinge  from  being  prolonged 
into  the  midst  of  winter,  and  which  I  had  only  seen  in  pictures. 
A  Monk  was  walking  in  a  solitary  grove  at  a  little  distance  from  the 
common  path.  The  air  was  soft  and  balmy,  and  I  felt  transported 
to  another  climate — -another  earth — another  sky.  The  winter  was 
suddenly  changed  to  spring.  It  was  as  if  I  had  to  begin  my  life 
anew.  Several  young  Italian  women  were  walking  on  the  terrace,  in 
English  dresses,  and  with  graceful  downcast  looks,  in  which  you  might 
fancy  that  you  read  the  soul  of  the  Decameron.  It  was  a  fine,  serious 
grace,  equally  remote  from  French  levity  and  English  suUenness, 
but  it  was  the  last  I  saw  of  it.  I  have  run  the  gauntlet  of  vulgar 
shapes  and  horrid  faces  ever  since.  The  women  in  Italy  (so  far  as  1 
have  seen  hitherto)  are  detestably  ugly.  They  are  not  even  dark 
and  swarthy,  but  a  mixture  of  brown  and  red,  coarse,  marked  with 
the  small  pox,  with  pug-features,  awkward,  ill-made,  fierce,  dirty,  lazy, 
neither  attempting  nor  hoping  to  please.  Italian  beauty  (if  there  is, 
as  I  am  credibly  informed,  such  a  thing)  is  retired,  conventual,  denied  to 
the  common  gaze.  It  was  and  it  remains  a  dream  to  me,  a  vision  of 
the  brain  !  I  returned  to  the  inn  (the  Pension  Suisse)  in  high  spirits, 
and  made  a  most  luxuriant  dinner.  We  had  a  wild  duck  equal  to 
what  we  had  in  Paris,  and  the  grapes  were  the  finest  I  ever  tasted. 
Afterwards  we  went  to  the  Opera,  and  saw  a  ballet  of  action  (out-herod- 
ing  Herod)  with  all  the  extravagance  of  incessant  dumb-show  and 
noise,  the  glittering  of  armour,  the  burning  of  castles,  the  clattering 
of  horses  on  and  off  the  stage,  and  heroines  like  furies  in  hysterics. 
Nothing  at  Bartholomew  Fair  was  ever  in  worse  taste,  noisier,  or  ' 
finer.  It  was  as  if  a  whole  people  had  buried  their  understandings, 
their  imaginations,  and  their  hearts  in  their  senses  ;  and  as  if  the  latter 
were  so  jaded  and  worn  out,  that  they  required  to  be  inflamed, 
dazzled,  and  urged  almost  to  a  kind  of  frenzy-fever,  to  feel  any  thing. 
The  house  was  crowded  to  excess,  and  dark,  all  but  the  stage,  which 
shed  a  dim,  ghastly  light  on  the  gilt  boxes  and  the  audience. 
Milton  might  easily  have  taken  his  idea  of  Pandemonium  from  the 
inside  of  an  Italian  Theatre,  its  heat,  its  gorgeousness,  and  its  gloom. 
We  were  at  the  back  of  the  pit,  in  which  there  was  only  standing 
room,  and  leaned  against  the  first  row  of  boxes,  full  of  the  Piedmontese 
Nobility,  who  talked  fast  and  loud  in  their  harsh  guttural  dialect,  in 
spite  of  the  repeated  admonitions  of  '  a  gentle  usher,  Authority  by 
name,'  who  every  five  seconds  hissed  some  lady  of  quality  and  high 
breeding  whose  voice  was  heard  with  an  eclat  above  all  the  rest.  No 
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THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

notice  whatever  was  taken  of  the  acting  or  the  singing  (which  was 
any  thing  but  Italian,  unless  Italian  at  present  means  a  bad  imitation 
of  the  French)  till  a  comic  dance  attracted  all  eyes,  and  drew  forth 
bursts  of  enthusiastic  approbation.  I  do  not  know  the  performers' 
names,  but  a  short,  squat  fellow  (a  kind  of  pollard  of  the  green-room) 
dressed  in  a  brown  linsey-woolsey  doublet  and  hose,  with  round  head, 
round  shoulders,  short  arms  and  short  legs,  made  love  to  a  fine  die- 
azuay  lady,  dressed  up  in  the  hoops,  lappets  and  furbelows  of  the  last 
age,  and  stumped,  nodded,  pulled  and  tugged  at  his  mistress  with 
laudable  perseverance,  and  in  determined  opposition  to  the  awkward, 
mawkish  graces  of  an  Adonis  of  a  rival,  with  flowing  locks,  pink 
ribbons,  yellow  kerseymere  breeches,  and  an  insipid  expression  of  the 
utmost  distress.  It  was  an  admirable  grotesque  and  fantastic  piece  of 
pantomime  humour.  The  little  fellow  who  played  the  Clown, 
certainly  entered  into  the  part  with  infinite  adroitness  and  spirit.  He 
merited  the  teres  et  rotundus  of  the  poet.  He  bounded  over  the  stage 
like  a  foot-ball,  rolled  himself  up  like  a  hedge-hog,  stuck  his  arms  in 
his  sides  like  fins,  rolled  his  eyes  in  his  head  like  bullets — and  the 
involuntary  plaudits  of  the  audience  witnessed  the  success  of  his 
efforts  at  once  to  electrify  and  stultify  them !  The  only  annoyance 
I  found  at  Turin  was  the  number  of  beggars  who  are  stuck  against 
the  walls  like  fixtures,  and  expose  their  diseased,  distorted  limbs,  with 
no  more  remorse  or  feeling  than  if  they  did  not  belong  to  them, 
deafening  you  with  one  wearisome  cry  the  whole  day  long. 

We  were  fortunate  enough  to  find  a  voiture  going  from  Geneva  to 
Florence,  with  an  English  lady  and  her  niece — I  bargained  for  the 
two  remaining  places  for  ten  guineas,  and  the  journey  turned  out 
pleasantly,  I  believe,  to  all  parties ;  I  am  sure  it  did  so  to  us.  We 
were  to  be  eight  days  on  the  road,  and  to  stop  two  days  to  rest,  once 
at  Parma,  and  once  at  Bologna,  to  see  the  pictures.  Having  made 
this  arrangement,  I  was  proceeding  over  the  bridge  towards  the 
Observatory  that  commands  a  view  of  the  town  and  the  whole 
surrounding  country,  and  had  quite  forgotten  that  I  had  such  a  thing 
as  a  passport  to  take  with  me.  I  found,  however,  I  had  no  fewer 
than  four  signatures  to  procure,  besides  the  six  that  were  already 
tacked  to  my  passport,  before  I  could  proceed,  and  which  I  had  some 
difficulty  in  obtaining  in  time  to  set  out  on  the  following  morning. 
The  hurry  I  was  thrown  into  by  this  circumstance  prevented  me  from 
seeing  some  fine  Rembrandts,  Spagnolettos  and  Caraccis,  which  I  was 
told  are  to  be  found  in  the  Palace  of  Prince  Carignani  and  elsewhere. 
I  received  this  piece  of  information  from  my  friend  the  Spaniard, 
who  called  on  me  to  inquire  my  proposed  route,  and  to  '  testify,'  as 
he  said,  '  his  respect  for  the  English  character.'     Shall  I  own  it  ?     I 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

who  flout,  rail  at,  and  contemn  the  English,  was  more  pleased  with  this 
compliment  paid  to  me  in  my  national  character,  than  with  any  I  ever 
received  on  the  score  of  personal  civility.  My  fellow-traveller  was 
for  Genoa  and  Milan  ;  I  for  Florence  :  but  we  were  to  meet  at  Rome. 

The  next  morning  was  clear  and  frosty,  and  the  sun  shone  bright 
into  the  windows  of  the  voiture,  as  we  left  Turin,  and  proceeded 
for  some  miles  at  a  gentle  pace  along  the  banks  of  the  Po.  The 
road  was  level  and  excellent,  and  we  met  a  number  of  market  people 
with  mules  and  yokes  of  oxen.  There  were  some  hills  crowned 
with  villas  ;  some  bits  of  traditional  Italian  scenery  now  and  then  ;  but 
in  general  you  would  not  know  but  that  you  were  in  England,  except 
from  the  greater  clearness  and  lightness  of  the  air.  We  breakfasted 
at  the  first  town  we  came  to,  in  two  separate  English  groups,  and  I 
could  not  help  being  struck  with  the  manner  of  our  reception  at  an 
Italian  inn,  which  had  an  air  of  indifference,  insolence,  and  hollow 
swaggering  about  it,  as  much  as  to  say,  '  Well,  what  do  you  think  of 
us  Italians  ?  Whatever  you  think,  we  care  very  little  about  the 
matter  !  '  The  French  are  a  politer  people  than  the  Italians — the 
English  are  hQnester  ;  but  I  may  as  well  postpone  these  comparisons 
till  my  return.  The  room  smoked,  and  the  waiter  insisted  on  having 
the  windows  and  the  door  open,  in  spite  of  my  remonstrances  to  the 
contrary.  He  flung  in  and  out  of  the  room  as  if  he  had  a  great 
opinion  of  himself,  and  wished  to  express  it  by  a  braggadocio  air. 
The  partridges,  coffee,  cheese  and  grapes,  on  which  we  breakfasted 
a  lafourchette,  were,  however,  excellent.  I  said  so,  but  the  acknow- 
ledgment seemed  to  be  considered  as  superfluous  by  our  attendant, 
who  received  five  francs  for  his  master,  and  one  for  himself,  with  an 
air  of  condescending  patronage.  In  consequence  of  something  being 
said  about  our  passports,  he  relaxed  in  the  solemnity  of  his  deport- 
ment, and  observed  that  '  he  had  been  once  near  being  engaged  as 
valet  to  an  English  gentleman,  at  Ostend  ;  that  he  had  but  three 
hours  to  procure  his  passport,  but  while  he  was  getting  it,  the  ship 
sailed,  and  he  lost  his  situation.'  Such  was  my  first  impression  of 
Italian  inns  and  waiters,  and  I  have  seen  nothing  since  materially  to 
alter  it.  They  receive  you  with  a  mixture  of  familiarity  and  fierce- 
ness, and  instead  of  expecting  any  great  civility  from  them,  they 
excite  that  sort  of  uncomfortable  sensation  as  to  the  footing  you  are 
upon,  that  you  are  glad  to  get  away  without  meeting  with  some 
affront.  There  is  either  a  fawning  sleekness,  which  looks  like 
design,  or  an  insolence,  which  looks  as  if  they  had  you  in  their 
power.  In  Switzerland  and  Savoy  you  are  waited  on  by  women  ;  in 
Italy  by  men.  I  cannot  say  I  like  the  exchange.  From  Turin  to 
Florence,  only  one  girl  entered  the  room,  and  she  (not  to  mend  the 

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THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

matter)  was  a  very  pretty  one I  was  told  at  the  office  of  Messrs. 

Bonnafoux  at  Turin,  that  travelling  to  Rome  by  a  vetturino  was 
highly  dangerous,  and  that  their  Diligence  was  guarded  by  four 
carabineers,  to  defend  it  from  the  banditti.  I  saw  none,  nor  the 
appearance  of  any  thing  that  looked  like  a  robber,  except  a  bare-foot 
friar,  who  suddenly  sprang  out  of  a  hedge  by  the  road-side,  with  a 
somewhat  wild  and  haggard  appearance,  which  a  little  startled  me. 
Instead  of  finding  a  thief  concealed  behind  each  bush,  or  a  Salvator 
Rosa  face  scowling  from  a  ruined  hovel,  or  peeping  from  a  jutting 
crag  at  every  turn,  there  is  an  excellent  turnpike-road  all  the  way, 
three-fourths  perfectly  level,  skirted  with  hedges,  corn-fields,  orchards 
and  vineyards,  populous  with  hamlets  and  villages,  with  labourers  at 
work  in  the  fields,  and  with  crowds  of  peasants  in  gay,  picturesque 
attire,  and  with  healthy,  cheerful,  open,  but  manly  countenances, 
passing  along,  either  to  or  from  the  different  market-towns.  It  was 
Carnival  time ;  and  as  we  travelled  on,  we  were  struck  with  the 
variety  of  rich  dresses,  red,  yellow,  and  green,  the  high-plaited  head- 
dresses of  the  women,  some  in  the  shape  of  helmets,  with  pins  stuck 
in  them  like  skewers,  with  gold  crosses  at  their  bosoms,  and  large 
muffs  on  their  hands,  who  poured  from  the  principal  towns  along  the 
high-road,  or  turned  off  towards  some  village-spire  in  the  distance, 
chequering  the  landscape  with  their  gaily-tinted  groups.  They  often 
turned  back  and  laughed  as  we  drove  by  them,  or  passed  thoughtfully 
on  without  noticing  us,  but  assuredly  showed  no  signs  of  an  intention 
to  rob  or  murder  us.  Even  in  the  Apennines,  though  the  road  is 
rugged  and  desolate,  it  is  lined  with  farm-houses  and  towns  at  small 
distances ;  and  there  is  but  one  house  all  the  way  that  is  stained  by 
the  recollection  of  a  tragic  catastrophe.  How  it  may  be  farther 
south,  I  cannot  say  ;  but  so  far,  the  reports  to  alarm  strangers  are  (to 
the  best  of  my  observation  and  conjecture)  totally  unfounded. 

We  had  left  the  Alps  behind  us,  the  white  tops  of  which  we  still 
saw  scarcely  distinguishable  from  ridges  of  rolling  clouds,  and  that 
seemed  to  follow  us  like  a  formidable  enemy,  and  almost  enclose  us  in 
a  semicircle  ;  and  we  had  the  Apennines  in  front,  that,  gradually 
emerging  from  the  horizon,  opposed  their  undulating  barrier  to  our 
future  progress,  with  shadowy  shapes  of  danger  and  Covigliaijo 
lurking  in  the  midst  of  them.  All  the  space  between  these  two,  for 
at  least  150  miles  (I  should  suppose)  is  one  level  cultivated  plain, 
one  continuous  garden.  This  became  more  remarkably  the  case,  as 
we  entered  the  territories  of  Maria-Louisa  (the  little  States  of  Parma 
and  Placentia)  when,  for  two  whole  days,  we  literally  travelled 
through  an  uninterrupted  succession  of  corn-fields,  vineyards  and 
orchards,  all   in  the  highest  state  of  cultivation,  with   the   hedges 

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neatly  clipped  into  a  kind  of  trellis-work,  and  the  vines  hanging  in 
festoons  from  tree  to  tree,  or  clinging  '  with  marriageable  arms '  round 
the  branches  of  each  regularly  planted  and  friendly  support.  It  was 
more  like  passing  through  a  number  of  orchard-plots  or  garden-grounds 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  some  great  city  (such  as  London)  than 
making  a  journey  through  a  wide  and  extensive  tract  of  country. 
Not  a  common  came  in  sight,  nor  a  single  foot  of  waste  or  indifferent 
ground.  It  became  tedious  at  last  from  the  richness,  the  neatness, 
and  the  uniformity ;  for  the  whole  was  worked  up  to  an  ideal  model, 
and  so  exactly  a  counterpart  of  itself,  that  it  was  like  looking  out  of 
a  window  at  the  same  identical  spot,  instead  of  passing  on  to  new 
objects  every  instant.  We  were  saturated  even  with  beauty  and 
comfort,  and  were  disposed  to  repeat  the  wish — 

'  To-morrow  to  fresh  fields  and  pastures  new.' 

A  white  square  villa,  or  better  sort  of  farm-house,  sometimes  stared 
on  us  from  the  end  of  a  long,  strait  avenue  of  poplars,  standing  in 
ostentatious,  unadorned  nakedness,  and  in  a  stiff,  meagre,  and  very 
singular  taste.  What  is  the  cause  of  the  predilection  of  the  Italians 
for  straight  lines  and  unsheltered  walls  ?  Is  it  for  the  sake, of  security 
or  vanity  ?  The  desire  of  seeing  everything  or  of  being  seen  by 
every  one  ?  The  only  thing  that  broke  the  uniformity  of  the  scene, 
or  gave  an  appearance  of  wretchedness  or  neglect  to  the  country,  was 
the  number  of  dry  beds  of  the  torrents  of  melted  snow  and  ice  that 
came  down  from  the  mountains  in  the  breaking  up  of  the  winter,  and 
that  stretched  their  wide,  comfortless,  unprofitable  length  across  these 
valleys  in  their  progress  to  the  Adriatic.  Some  of  them  were  half  a 
mile  in  breadth,  and  had  stately  bridges  over  them,  with  innumerable 
arches — (the  work,  it  seems,  of  Maria  Louisa)  some  of  which  we 
crossed  over,  others  we  rode  under.  We  approached  the  first  of 
them  by  moonlight,  and  the  effect  of  the  long,  white,  glimmering, 
sepulchral  arches  was  as  ghastly  then  as  it  is  dreary  in  the  day-time. 
There  is  something  almost  preternatural  in  the  sensation  they  excite, 
particularly  when  your  nerves  have  been  agitated  and  harassed  during 
several  days'  journey,  and  you  are  disposed  to  startle  at  everything  in 
a  questionable  shape.  You  do  not  know  what  to  make  of  them. 
They  seem  like  the  skeletons  of  bridges  over  the  dry  bones  and  dusty 
relics  of  rivers.  It  is  as  if  some  mighty  concussion  of  the  earth  had 
swept  away  the  water,  and  left  the  bridge  standing  in  stiffened  horror 
over  it.  It  is  a  new  species  of  desolation,  as  flat,  dull,  disheartening, 
and  hopeless  as  can  be  imagined.  Mr.  Crabbe  should  travel  post  to 
Italy  on  purpose  to  describe  it,  and  to  add  it  to  his  list  of  prosaic 
horrors.  While  here,  he  might  also  try  his  hand  upon  an  Italian 
200 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

vintage,  and  if  he  does  not  squeeze  the  juice  and  spirit  out  of  it,  and 
leave  nothing  but  the  husk  and  stalks,  I  am  much  mistaken.  As  we 
groped  our  way  under  the  stony  ribs  of  the  first  of  these  structures 
that  we  came  to,  one  of  the  arches  within  which  the  moonlight  fell, 
presented  a  momentary  appearance  of  a  woman  in  a  white  dress  and 
hood,  stooping  to  gather  stones.  I  wish  I  had  the  petrific  pencil  of 
the  ingenious  artist  above-named,  that  I  might  imbody  this  flitting 
shadow  in  a  permanent  form. 

It  was  late  on  the  fourth  day  (Saturday)  before  we  reached  Parma. 
Our  two  black,  glossy,  easy-going  horses  were  tired  of  the  sameness 
or  length  of  the  way ;  and  our  guide  appeared  to  have  forgotten  it, 
for  we  entered  the  capital  of  the  Archduchy  without  his  being  aware 
of  it.  We  went  to  the  Peacock  Inn,  where  we  were  shewn  into  a 
very  fine  but  faded  apartment,  and  where  we  stopped  the  whole  of  the 
next  day.  Here,  for  the  first  time  on  our  journey,  we  found  a  carpet, 
which,  however,  stuck  to  the  tiled  floor  with  dirt  and  age.  There 
was  a  lofty  bed,  with  a  crimson  silk  canopy,  a  marble  table,  looking- 
glasses  of  all  sizes  and  in  every  direction,^  and  excellent  cofl^ee,  fruit, 
game,  bread  and  wine  at  a  moderate  rate — that  is  to  say,  our  supper 
the  first  night,  our  breakfast,  dinner,  and  coffee  the  next  day,  and 
coffee  the  following  morning,  with  lodging  and  fire,  came  to  twenty- 
three  francs.  It  would  have  cost  more  than  double  in  England  in  the 
same  circumstances.  We  had  an  exhilarating  view  from  our  window 
of  the  street  and  great  square.  It  was  full  of  noise  and  bustle.  The 
people  were  standing  in  lounging  attitudes  by  themselves,  or  talking 
loud  in  groups,  and  with  great  animation.  The  expression  of 
character  seemed  to  be  natural  and  unaffected.  Every  one  appeared 
to  follow  the  bent  of  his  own  humour  and  feelings  (good  or  bad)  and 
I  did  not  perceive  any  of  that  smirking  grimace  and  varnish  of 
affectation  and  self-complacency,  which  glitters  in  the  face  and 
manners  of  every  Frenchman,  and  makes  them  so  many  enemies.  If 
an  individual  is  inordinately  delighted  with  himself,  do  not  others 
laugh  at  and  take  a  dislike  to  him  ?  Must  it  not  be  equally  so 
with  a  nation  enamoured  of  itself? — The  women  that  I  saw  did 
not  answer   to  my  expectations.     They  had  high  shoulders,  thick 

^  Why  have  they  such  quantities  of  looking-glasses  in  Italy,  and  none  in  Scot- 
land ?  The  dirt  in  each  country  is  equal ;  the  finery  not.  Neither  in  Scotland  do 
they  call  in  the  aid  of  the  Fine  Arts,  of  the  upholsterer  and  tapissier,  to  multiply 
the  images  of  the  former  in  squalid  decorations,  and  thus  shew  that  the  det)asement 
is  moral  as  well  as  physical.  They  write  up  on  certain  parts  of  Rome  '  Immondizia.' 
A  Florentine  asked  why  it  was  not  written  on  the  gates  of  Rome  ?  An  English- 
man might  be  tempted  to  ask,  why  it  is  not  written  on  the  gates  of  Calais,  to  serve 
for  the  rest  of  the  Continent  ?  If  the  people  and  houses  in  Italy  are  as  dirty  or 
dirtier  than  in  France,  the  streets  and  towns  are  kept  in  infinitely  better  order. 

201 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

waists,  and  shambling  feet,  or  that  crapaudeux  shape,  which  is  odious 
to  see  or  think  of.  The  men  looked  better,  and  I  saw  little  differ- 
ence between  them  and  the  English,  except  a  greater  degree  of  fire 
and  spirit.  The  priests  had  many  of  them  (both  here  and  at  Turin) 
fine  faces,  with  a  jovial  expression  of  good  humour  and  good  living, 
or  of  subtle  thought  and  painful  watching,  studious  to  keep  the  good 
things  that  enriched  the  veins  and  pampered  the  pride  of  the  brother- 
hood. Here  we  saw  the  whole  market-place  kneel  down  as  the  host 
passed  by.  Being  Carnival  time,  high  mass  was  celebrated  at  the 
principal  churches,  and  Moses  in  Egypt  was  given  at  the  Opera  in  the 
evening.  The  day  before,  as  we  entered  Parma  in  the  dusk,  we  saw 
a  procession  of  flambeaux  at  a  distance,  which  denoted  a  funeral. 
The  processions  are  often  joined  by  persons  of  the  highest  quality  in 
disguise,  who  make  a  practice  of  performing  penance,  or  expiating 
some  offence  by  attending  the  obsequies  of  the  dead.  This  custom 
may  be  ridiculed  as  superstitious  by  an  excess  of  Protestant  zeal ;  but 
the  moralist  will  hardly  blame  what  shews  a  sense  of  human  infirmity, 
and  owns  something  '  serious  in  mortality ; '  and  is  besides  freed  from 
the  suspicion  of  ostentation  or  hypocrisy.  Lord  Glenallan,  in  '  The 
Antiquary,'  has  been  censured  on  the  same  principle,  as  an  ex- 
crescence of  morbid  and  superannuated  superstition.  Honi  soit  qui 
mal  y  pense.  When  human  nature  is  no  longer  liable  to  such  mis- 
fortunes, our  sympathy  with  them  will  then  be  superfluous — we  may 
dry  up  our  tears,  and  stifle  our  sighs.  In  the  mean  time,  they  who 
enlarge  our  sympathy  with  others,  or  deepen  it  for  ourselves  from 
lofty,  imaginary  sources,  are  the  true  teachers  of  morality,  and  bene- 
factors of  mankind,  were  they  twenty  times  tools  and  Tories.  It  is 
not  the  shutting  up  of  hospitals,  but  the  opening  of  the  human  heart, 
that  will  lead  to  the  regeneration  of  the  world  ^ ! 

It  was  at  Parma  I  first  noticed  the  women  looking  out  of  the 
windows  (not  one  or  two  stragglers,  but  two  or  three  from  every 
house)  where  they  hang  like  signs  or  pictures,  stretching  their  necks 
out,  or  confined,  like  children  by  iron  bars,  often  with  cushions  to 
lean  upon,  scaldakttos  dangling  from  their  hands  (another  vile 
custom).  This  seems  to  shew  a  prodigious  predominance  of  the 
organ  of  sight,  or  a  want  of  something  to  do  or  to  think  of.  In 
France,  the  passion  of  the  women  is  not  to  see,  but  to  talk.  In 
Hogarth,  you  perceive  some  symptoms  of  the  same  prurience  of  the 
optic  nerve,  and  willingness  to  take  in  knowledge  at  the  entrance 
of  the  eyes.  It  certainly  has  a  great  look  of  ignorance,  indolence, 
and  vulgarity.  In  summer  time,  perhaps,  the  practice  might  be 
natural — in  winter,  the  habit  is  quite  unaccountable.  I  thought,  at 
^  See  Westminster  Revie<w, 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

first,  it  might  be  one  of  the  abuses  of  the  Carnival ;  but  the  Carnival 
is  over,  and  the  windows  are  still  lined  with  eyes  and  heads — that  do 
not  like  the  trouble  of  putting  on  a  cap. 

We  were  told  we  could  see  her  Majesty  at  mass,  (so  her  dutiful 
subjects  call  the  Archduchess)  and  we  went  to  see  the  daughter  of  a 
sovereign,  the  self-devoted  consort  of  one  who  only  lost  himself  by 
taking  upon  him  a  degrading  equality  with  Emperors  and  Kings. 
We  had  a  Cicerone  with  us,  who  led  us,  without  ceremony,  to  a 
place  in  the  chapel,  where  we  could  command  a  full  view  of  Maria 
Louisa,  and  which  we  made  use  of  without  much  reserve.  She 
knelt,  or  stood,  in  the  middle  of  a  small  gallery,  with  attendants, 
male  and  female,  on  each  side  of  her.  We  saw  her  distinctly  for 
several  minutes.  She  has  full  fair  features,  not  handsome,  but  with 
a  mild,  unassuming  expression,  tinged  with  thoughtfulness.  She 
appears  about  forty ;  she  seemed  to  cast  a  wistful  look  at  us,  being 
strangers  and  English  people — 

'  Methought  she  looked  at  us — 
So  every  one  believes,  that  sees  a  Duchess  ! ' — Old  Play. 

There  are  some  not  very  pleasant  rumours  circulated  of  her.  She 
must  have  had  something  of  the  heroine  of  the  Cid  about  her. 
She  married  the  man  who  had  conquered  her  father.  She  is  said  to 
have  leaned  on  the  Duke  of  Wellington's  arm.  After  that,  she 
might  do  whatever  she  pleased.  Perhaps  these  stories  are  only 
circulated  to  degrade  her  ;  or,  perhaps,  a  scheme  may  have  been  laid 
to  degrade  her  in  reality,  by  the  persons  nearest  to  her,  and  most 
interested  in,  but  most  jealous  of,  her  honour  !  We  were  invited  to 
see  the  cradle  of  the  little  Napoleon,  which  I  declined ;  and  we  then 
went  to  see  the  new  gallery  which  the  Archduchess  has  built  for  her 
pictures,  in  which  there  is  a  bust  of  herself,  by  Canova.  Here  I  saw 
a  number  of  pictures,  and  among  others  the  Correggios  and  the 
celebrated  St.  Jerome,  which  I  had  seen  at  Paris.  I  must  have  been 
out  of  tune ;  for  ray  disappointment  and  my  consequent  mortification 
were  extreme.  I  had  never  thought  Correggio  a  God ;  but  I  had 
attributed  this  to  my  own  inexperience  and  want  of  taste,  and  I  hoped 
by  this  time  to  have  ripened  into  that  full  idolatry  of  him  expressed 
by  Mengs  and  others.  Instead  of  which,  his  pictures  (they  stood  on 
the  ground  without  frames,  and  in  a  bad  light)  appeared  to  be  com- 
paratively mean,  feeble,  and  affected.  There  is  the  master-hand,  no 
doubt,  but  tremulous  with  artificial  airs — beauty  and  grace  carried  to  a 
pitch  of  quaintness  and  conceit — the  expression  of  joy  or  woe,  but 
lost  in  a  doting  contemplation  of  its  own  ecstasy  or  agony,  and  after 
being  raised  to  the  height  of  truth  and  nature,  hurried  over  the  brink 

203 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

of  refinement  into  efFeminacy,  by  a  craving  after  impossibilities,  and  a 
wanton  dalliance  with  the  ideal.  Correggio  has  painted  the  wreathed 
smile  of  sweetness,  but  he  does  not  stop  till  he  has  contorted  it  into 
affectation  ;  he  has  expressed  the  utmost  distress  and  despondency  of 
soul,  but  it  is  the  weakness  of  suffering  without  the  strength.  His 
pictures  are  so  perfect  and  delicate,  that  '  the  sense  aches  at  them  ; ' 
and  in  his  efforts  after  refinement,  he  has  worked  himself  up  into  a 
state  of  languid,  nervous  irritability,  which  is  reflected  back  upon  the 
spectator.  These  remarks  appeared  to  me  applicable  in  their  full 
force  to  the  St.  Jerome,  the  Taking  down  from  the  Cross,  and  the 
Martrydom  of  St.  Placide,  in  which  there  is  an  executioner  with  his 
back  turned,  in  a  chiaroscuro  of  the  most  marvellous  clearness  and 
beauty.  In  all  these  there  is  a  want  of  manly  firmness  and  simplicity. 
He  might  be  supposed  to  have  touched,  at  some  period  of  his  progress, 
on  the  highest  point  of  excellence,  and  then  to  have  spoiled  all  by  a 
wish  to  go  farther,  without  knowing  how  or  why.  Perhaps  modesty, 
or  an  ignorance  of  what  others  had  done,  or  of  what  the  art  could  do, 
was  at  the  foundation  of  this,  and  prevented  him  from  knowing  where 
to  stop.  Perhaps  he  had  too  refined  and  tender  a  susceptibility,  or 
ideas  of  sanctity  and  sweetness  beyond  the  power  of  his  art  to 
express ;  and  in  the  attempt  to  reconcile  the  mechanical  and  idial, 
failed  from  an  excess  of  feeling !  I  saw  nothing  else  to  please  me, 
and  I  was  sorry  I  had  come  so  far  to  have  my  faith  in  great  names 
and  immortal  works  misgive  me.  I  was  ready  to  exclaim,  '  Oh 
painting !  I  thought  thee  a  substance,  and  I  find  thee  a  shadow !  ' 
There  was,  however,  a  Cro'wning  of  the  Virgin,  a  fresco  (by 
Correggio)  from  the  Church  of  St.  Paul,  which  was  full  of  majesty, 
sweetness,  and  grace  ;  and  in  this,  and  the  heads  of  boys  and  fawns, 
in  the  Chase  of  Diana,  there  is  a  freedom  and  breadth  of  execution, 
owing  to  the  mode  in  which  they  were  painted,  and  which  makes 
them  seem  pure  emanations  of  the  mind,  without  anything  overdone, 
finical,  or  little.  The  cupola  of  St.  Paul's,  painted  by  Correggio  in 
fresco,  is  quite  destroyed,  or  the  figures  flutter  in  idle  fragments  from 
the  walls.  Most  of  the  other  pictures  in  this  church  were  in  a 
tawdry,  meretricious  style.  I  was  beginning  to  think  that  painting 
was  not  calculated  for  churches,  coloured  surfaces  not  agreeing  with 
solid  pillars  and  masses  of  architecture,  and  also  that  Italian  art  was 
less  severe,  and  more  a  puppet-show  business  than  I  had  thought  it. 
I  was  not  a  little  tired  of  the  painted  shrines  and  paltry  images  of  the 
Virgin  at  every  hundred  yards  as  we  rode  along.  But  if  my  thoughts 
were  veering  to  this  cheerless,  attenuated  speculation  of  nothingness 
and  vanity,  they  were  called  back  by  the  sight  of  the  Farnese 
Theatre — the  noblest  and  most  striking  monument  I  have  seen  of 
204 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

the  golden  age  of  Italy.  It  was  built  by  one  of  the  Farnese  family 
about  the  fifteenth  or  sixteenth  century,  and  would  hold  eight  thousand 
spectators.  It  is  cold,  empty,  silent  as  the  receptacles  of  the  dead. 
The  walls,  roofs,  rafters,  and  even  seats,  remain  perfect ;  but  the  tide 
of  population  and  of  wealth,  the  pomp  and  pride  of  patronage  and 
power,  seemed  to  have  turned  another  way,  and  to  have  left  it  a 
deserted  pile,  that  would,  long  ere  this,  have  mouldered  into  ruin  and 
decay,  but  that  its  original  strength  and  vast  proportions  would  not 
suffer  it — a  lasting  proof  of  the  magnificence  of  a  former  age,  and  of 
the  degeneracy  of  this !  The  streets  of  Parma  are  beautiful,  airy, 
clean,  spacious ;  the  churches  elegant ;  and  the  walls  around  it 
picturesque  and  delightful.  The  walls  and  ramparts,  with  the 
gardens  and  vineyards  close  to  them,  have  a  most  romantic  effect ; 
and  we  saw,  on  a  flight  of  steps  near  one  of  the  barriers,  a  group  of 
men,  women,  and  children,  that  for  expression,  composition,  and 
colouring  rivalled  any  thing  in  painting.  We  here  also  observed  the 
extreme  clearness  and  brilliancy  of  the  southern  atmosphere  :  the  line 
of  hills  in  the  western  horizon  was  distinguished  from  the  sky  by  a 
tint  so  fine  that  it  was  barely  perceptible. 

Bologna  is  even  superior  to  Parma.  If  its  streets  are  less  stately, 
its  public  buildings  are  more  picturesque  and  varied ;  and  its  long 
arcades,  its  porticos,  and  silent  walks  are  a  perpetual  feast  to  the  eye 
and  the  imagination.  At  Parma  (as  well  as  Turin)  you  see  a  whole 
street  at  once,  and  have  a  magical  and  imposing  effect  produced  once 
for  all.  At  Bologna  you  meet  with  a  number  of  surprises ;  new 
beauties  unfold  themselves,  a  perspective  is  gradually  prolonged,  or 
branches  off  by  some  retired  and  casual  opening,  winding  its  heedless 
way — the  rus  in  urbe — where  leisure  might  be  supposed  to  dwell  with 
learning.  Here  is  the  Falling  Tower,  and  the  Neptune  of  John  of 
Bologna,  in  the  great  square.  Going  along,  we  met  Professor 
Mezzofanti,  who  is  said  to  understand  thirty-eight  languages,  English 
among  the  rest.  He  was  pointed  out  to  us  as  a  prodigious  curiosity 
by  our  guide,  (Signor  Gatti)  who  has  this  pleasantry  at  his  tongue's 
end,  that  '  there  is  one  Raphael  to  paint,  one  Mezzofanti  to  under- 
stand languages,  and  one  Signor  Gatti  to  explain  everything  they 
wish  to  know  to  strangers.'  We  went  under  the  guidance  of  this 
accomplished  person,  and  in  company  of  our  fellow-travellers,  to  the 
Academy,  and  to  the  collection  of  the  Marquis  Zampieri.  In  the 
last  there  is  not  a  single  picture  worth  seeing,  except  some  old  and 
curious  ones  of  Giotto  and  Ghirlandaio.  One  cannot  look  at  these 
performances  (imperfect  as  they  are,  with  nothing  but  the  high 
endeavour,  the  fixed  purpose  stamped  on  them,  like  the  attempts  of 
a  deformed  person  at  grace)   with  sufficient  veneration,  when  one 

205 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

considers  what  they  must  have  cost  their  authors,  or  what  they  have 
enabled  others  to  do.  If  Giotto  could  have  seen  the  works  of 
Raphael  or  Correggio,  would  he  not  have  laughed  or  wept  ?  Yet 
Raphael  and  Correggio  should  have  bowed  the  head  to  him,  for 
without  those  first  rude  beginners  and  dumb  creators  of  the  art,  they 
themselves  would  never  have  been! — -What  amused  us  here  was  a 
sort  of  wild  Meg  Merrilies  of  a  woman,  in  a  grey  coarse  dress,  and 
with  grey  matted  hair,  that  sprang  out  of  a  dungeon  of  a  porter's 

lodge,  and  seizing  upon  Madame ,  dragged  her  by  the  arm  up 

the  staircase,  with  unrestrained  familiarity  and  delight.  We  thought 
it  was  some  one  who  presumed  on  old  acquaintance,  and  was  over- 
joyed at  seeing  Madame a  second  time.     It  was  the  mere  spirit 

of  good  fellowship,  and  the  excess  of  high  animal  spirits.  No  woman 
in  England  would  dream  of  such  an  extravagance,  who  was  not  mad 
or  drunk.  She  afterwards  followed  us  about  the  rooms  ;  and  though 
she  rather  slunk  behind,  being  somewhat  abashed  by  our  evident  wish 
to  shake  her  off,  she  still  seemed  to  watch  for  an  opportunity  to  dart 
upon  some  one,  like  an  animal  whose  fondness  you  cannot  get  rid  of 
by  repeated  repulses.  ^  There  is  a  childishness  and  want  of  self- 
control  about  the  Italians,  which  has  an  appearance  of  folly  or 
craziness.  We  passed  a  group  of  women  on  the  road,  and  though 
there  was  something  odd  in  their  dress  and  manner,  it  was  not  for 
some  time  that  we  discovered  that  they  were  insane  persons,  walking 
out  under  the  charge  of  keepers,  from  a  greater  degree  of  vacant 
vivacity,  or  thoughtful  abstraction  than  usual. 

To  return.  The  Collection  of  Pictures  in  the  Academy  is  worthy 
of  Italy  and  of  Bologna.  It  is  chiefly  of  the  Bolognese  school ;  or 
in  that  fine,  sombre,  shadowy  tone  that  seems  reflected  from  sacred 
subjects  or  from  legendary  lore,  that  corresponds  with  crucifixions 
and  martyrdoms,  that  points  to  skyey  glories  or  hovers  round  con- 
ventual gloom.  Here  is  the  St.  Cecilia  of  Raphael  (of  which  the 
engraving  conveys  a  faithful  idea),  several  Caraccis,  Domenichino's 
St.  Teresa,  and  his  St.  Peter  Martyr,  (a  respectable,  not  a  formidable 
rival  of  Titian's)  a  Sampson,  by  Guido  (an  ill-chosen  subject,  finely 
coloured)  and  the  Five  Patron-Saints  of  Bologna,  by  the  same,  a 
very  large,  finely-painted  and  impressive  picture,  occupying  the  end 
of  the  Gallery.     Four  out  of  five  of  the   Saints  are  admirable  old 

^  They  tell  a  story  in  Paris  of  a  monkey  at  the  Jardin  des  Plantes,  that  was 
noted  for  its  mischievous  tricks  and  desire  to  fly  at  every  one.  Dr.  Gall  observed 
the  organ  of  philanthropy  particularly  strong  in  the  beast,  and  desired  the  keeper 
to  let  him  loose,  when  he  sprung  upon  the  Doctor,  and  hugged  him  round  the  neck 
with  the  greatest  bon-hommie  and  cordiality,  to  the  astonishment  of  the  keeper  and 
the  triumph  of  craniology  !  Some  men  are  as  troublesome  as  some  animals  with 
their  demonstrations  of  benevolence. 
206 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

Monkish  heads  (even  their  very  cowls  seem  to  think) :  the  Dead 
Christ  above  has  a  fine  monumental  effect ;  and  the  whole  picture, 
compared  with  this  master's  general  style,  is  like  '  the  cathedral's 
gloom  and  choir,'  compared  with  sunny  smiles  and  the  shepherd's 
pipe  upon  the  mountains.  I  left  this  Gallery,  once  more  reconciled 
to  my  favourite  art.  Guido  also  gains  upon  me,  because  I  continually 
see  fine  pictures  of  his.  '  By  their  works  ye  shall  know  them,'  is  a 
fair  rule  for  judging  of  painters  or  men. 

There  is  a  side  pavement  at  Bologna,  Modena,  and  most  of  the 
other  towns  in  Italy,  so  that  you  do  not  walk,  as  in  Paris,  in  continual 
dread  of  being  run  over.  The  shops  have  a  neat  appearance,  and  are 
well  supplied  with  the  ordinary  necessaries  of  life,  fruit,  poultry, 
bread,  onions  or  garlick,  cheese  and  sausages.  The  butchers'  shops 
look  much  as  they  do  in  England.  There  is  a  technical  description 
of  the  chief  towns  in  Italy,  which  those  who  learn  the  Italian 
Grammar  are  told  to  get  by  heart — Genoa  la  superba,  Bologna  la 
dotta,  Ravenna  Tantica,  Firense  la  Bella,  Roma  la  santa.  Some  of 
these  I  have  seen,  and  others  not ;  and  those  that  I  have  not  seen 
seem  to  me  the  finest.  Does  not  this  list  convey  as  good  an  idea  of 
these  places  as  one  can  well  have  ?  It  selects  some  one  distinct 
feature  of  them,  and  that  the  best.  Words  may  be  said,  after  all,  to 
be  the  finest  things  in  the  world.  Things  themselves  are  but  a 
lower  species  of  words,  exhibiting  the  grossnesses  and  details  of 
matter.  Yet,  if  there  be  any  country  answering  to  the  description 
or  idea  of  it,  it  is  Italy  ;  and  to  this  theory,  I  must  add,  the  Alps  are 
also  a  proud  exception. 


CHAPTER    XVI 

We  left  Bologna  on  our  way  to  Florence  in  the  afternoon,  that  we 
might  cross  the  Apenines  the  following  day.  High  Mass  had 
been  celebrated  at  Bologna ;  it  was  a  kind  of  gala  day,  and  the  road 
was  lined  with  flocks  of  country-people  returning  to  their  homes.  At 
the  first  village  we  came  to  among  the  hills,  we  saw,  talking  to  her 
companions  by  the  road-side,  the  only  very  handsome  Italian  we  have 
yet  seen.  It  was  not  the  true  Italian  face  neither,  dark  and  oval, 
but  more  like  the  face  of  an  English  peasant,  with  heightened  grace 
and  animation,  with  sparkling  eyes,  white  teeth,  a  complexion 
breathing  health, 

'  And  when  she  spake, 

Betwixt  the  pearls  and  rubies  softly  brake 

A  silver  sound,  which  heavenly  music  seem'd  to  make.' 

207 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

Our  voiture  was  ascending  a  hill;  and  as  she  walked  by  the  side  of 
it  with  elastic  step,  and  a  bloom  like  the  suffusion  of  a  rosy  cloud,  the 
sight  of  her  was  doubly  welcome,  in  this  land  of  dingy  complexions, 
squat  features,  scowling  eye-brows  and  round  shoulders. 

We  slept  at ,  nine  miles  from  Bologna,  and  set  off  early  the 

next  morning,  that  we  might  have  the  whole  day  before  us.  The 
moon,  which  had  lighted  on  us  on  our  way  the  preceding  evening, 
still  hung  over  the  western  horizon,  its  yellow  orb  nigh  dropping 
behind  the  snowy  peaks  of  the  highest  Apennines,  while  the  sun 
was  rising  with  dazzling  splendour  behind  a  craggy  steep  that  over- 
hung the  frozen  road  we  were  passing  over.  The  white  tops  of  the 
Apennines,  covered  with  hoar-frost  gleamed  in  the  misty  morning. 
There  was  a  delightful  freshness  and  novelty  in  the  scene.  The 
Apenines  have  not  the  vastness  nor  the  unity  of  effect  of  the  Alps ; 
but  are  broken  up  into  a  number  of  abrupt  projecting  points,  that 
crossing  one  another,  and  presenting  new  combinations  as  the  traveller 
shifts  his  position,  produce,  though  a  less  sublime  and  imposing,  a 
more  varied  and  picturesque  effect.  A  brook  brawled  down  the 
precipice  on  the  road-side,  a  pine-tree  or  mountain-ash  hung  over  it, 
and  shewed  the  valley  below  in  a  more  distant,  airy  perspective ;  on 
the  point  of  a  rock  half-way  down  was  perched  some  village-spire  or 
ruined  battlement,  while  hamlets  and  farm-houses  were  sheltered  in 
the  bosom  of  the  vale  far  below  :  a  pine-forest  rose  on  the  sides 
of  the  mountain  above,  or  a  bleak  tract  of  brown  heath  or  dark 
morass  was  contrasted  with  the  clear  pearly  tints  of  the  snowy  ridges 
in  the  higher  distance,  above  which  some  still  loftier  peak  saluted  the 
sky,  tinged  with  a  rosy  light. — Such  were  nearly  the  features  of  the 
landscape  all  round,  and  for  several  miles ;  and  though  we  constantly 
ascended  and  descended  a  very  winding  road,  and  caught  an  object 
now  in  contact  with  one  part  of  the  scene,  now  giving  relief  to 
another,  at  one  time  at  a  considerable  distance  beneath  our  feet,  and 
soon  after  soaring  as  high  above  our  heads,  yet  the  elements  of  beauty 
or  of  wildness  being  the  same,  the  coup  d'ceil,  though  constantly 
changing,  was  as  often  repeated,  and  we  at  length  grew  tired  of  a 
scenery  that  still  seemed  another  and  the  same.  One  of  our 
pleasantest  employments  was  to  remark  the  teams  of  oxen  and  carts 
that  we  had  lately  passed,  winding  down  a  declivity  in  our  rear,  or 
suspended  on  the  edge  of  a  precipice,  that  on  the  spot  we  had 
mistaken  for  level  ground.  We  had  some  difficulty  too  with  our 
driver,  who  had  talked  gallantly  over-night  of  hiring  a  couple  of  oxen 
to  draw  us  up  the  mountain  ;  but  when  it  came  to  the  push,  his  heart 
failed  him,  and  his  Swiss  economy  prevailed.  In  addition  to  his 
habitual  closeness,  the  windfall  of  the  ten  guineas,  which  was  beyond 

208 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

his  expectations,  had  whetted  his  appetite  for  gain,  and  he  appeared 
determined  to  make  a  good  thing  of  his  present  journey.  He  pre- 
tended to  bargain  with  several  of  the  owners,  but  from  his  beating 
them  down  to  the  lowest  fraction,  nothing  ever  came  of  it,  and  when 
from  the  thawing  of  the  ice  in  the  sun,  the  inconvenience  became 
serious,  so  that  we  were  several  times  obliged  to  get  out  and  walk,  to 
enable  the  horses  to  proceed  with  the  carriage,  he  said  it  was  too 
late.  The  country  now  grew  wilder,  and  the  day  gloomy.  It  was 
three  o'clock  before  we  stopped  at  Pietra  Mala  to  have  our  luggage 
examined  on  entering  the  Tuscan  States ;  and  here  we  resolved  to 
breakfast,  instead  of  proceeding  four  miles  farther  to  Covigliaio, 
where,  though  we  did  not  choose  to  pass  the  night,  we  had  proposed 
to  regale  our  waking  imaginations  with  a  thrilling  recollection  of  the 
superstitious  terrors  of  the  spot,  at  ease  and  in  safety.  Our  reception 
at  Pietra  Mala  was  frightful  enough ;  the  rooms  were  cold  and  empty, 
and  we  were  met  with  a  vacant  stare  or  with  sullen  frowns,  in  lieu  of 
any  better  welcome.  I  have  since  thought  that  these  were  probably 
the  consequence  of  the  contempt  and  ill-humour  shewn  by  other 
English  travellers  at  the  desolateness  of  the  place,  and  the  apparent 
want  of  accommodation ;  for,  as  the  fire  of  brushwood  was  lighted, 
and  the  eggs,  bread,  and  coffee  were  brought  in  by  degrees,  and  we 
expressed  our  satisfaction  in  them,  the  cloud  on  the  brow  of  our 
reluctant  entertainers  vanished,  and  melted  into  thankful  smiles. 
There  was  still  an  air  of  mystery,  of  bustle,  and  inattention  about 
the  house  ;  persons  of  both  sexes,  and  of  every  age,  passed  and 
repassed  through  our  sitting  room  to  an  inner  chamber  with  looks 
of  anxiety  and  importance,  and  we  learned  at  length  that  the 
mistress  of  the  inn  had  been,  half  an  hour  before,  brought  to  bed 
of  a  fine  boy  ! 

We  had  now  to  mount  the  longest  and  steepest  ascent  of  the 
Apennines ;  and  Jaques,  who  began  to  be  alarmed  at  the  accounts 
of  the  state  of  the  road,  and  at  the  increasing  gloom  of  the  weather, 
by  a  great  effort  of  magnanimity  had  a  yoke  of  oxen  put  to,  and  after- 
wards another  horse,  to  drag  us  up  the  worst  part ;  but  as  soon  as  he 
could  find  an  excuse  he  dismissed  both,  and  we  crawled  and  stumbled 
on  as  before.  The  hills  were  covered  with  a  dense  cloud  of  sleet 
and  vapour  driven  before  the  blast,  that  wrapped  us  round,  and  hung 
like  a  blanket  or  (if  the  reader  pleases)  a  dark  curtain  over  the  more 
distant  range  of  mountains.  On  our  right  were  high  ledges  of  frown- 
ing rocks,  '  cloud-clapt,'  and  the  summits  impervious  to  the  sight — on 
our  farthest  left,  an  opening  was  made  which  showed  a  milder  sky, 
evening  clouds  pillowed  on  rocks,  and  a  chain  of  lofty  peaks  basking 
in  the  rays  of  the  setting  sun  ;  between,  and  in  the  valley  below,  there 

VOL.  IX.  :  o  209 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

was  nothing  to  be  seen  but  mist  and  crag  and  grim  desolation  with  the 
lowering  symptoms  of  the  impending  storm.  We  felt  uncomfortable, 
for  the  increased  violence  of  the  wind  or  thickening  of  the  fog  would 
have  presented  serious  obstacles  to  our  farther  progress,  which  became 
every  moment  more  necessary  as  the  evening  closed  in — as  it  was,  we 
only  saw  a  few  yards  of  the  road  distinctly  before  us,  which  cleared 
as  we  advanced  forward ;  and  at  the  side  there  was  sometimes  a 
precipice,  beyond  which  we  could  distinguish  nothing  but  mist,  so 
that  we  seemed  to  be  travelling  along  the  edge  of  the  world.  The 
feeling  was  more  striking  than  agreeable.  Our  horses  were  blinded 
by  the  mist,  which  drove  furiously  against  them,  and  were  nearly 
exhausted  with  continued  exertion.  At  length,  when  we  had  arrived 
near  the  very  top  of  the  mountain,  we  had  to  cross  a  few  yards  of 
very  slippery  ice,  which  became  a  matter  of  considerable  doubt  and 
difficulty. — The  horses  could  hardly  keep  their  feet  in  straining  to 
move  forward,  and  if  one  of  them  had  fallen  and  been  hurt,  the 
accident  might  have  detained  us  on  the  middle  of  the  mountain,  with- 
out any  aid  near,  or  made  it  so  late  that  the  descent  on  the  other  side 
would  have  been_  dangerous.  Luckily,  a  desperate  effort  succeeded, 
and  we  gained  the  summit  of  the  hill  without  accident.  We  had  still 
some  miles  to  go,  and  we  descended  rapidly  down  on  the  other  side, 
congratulating  ourselves  that  we  had  day-light  to  distinguish  the  road 
from  the  abyss  that  often  skirted  it.  About  half-way  down  we 
emerged,  to  our  great  delight,  from  the  mist  (or  brouillard,  as  it  is 
called)  that  had  hitherto  enveloped  us,  and  the  valley  opened  at  our 
feet  in  dim  but  welcome  perspective.  We  proceeded  more  leisurely 
on  to  La  Maschere,  having  escaped  the  dangers  threatened  us  from 
precipices  and  robbers,  and  drove  into  a  spacious  covered  court-yard 
belonging  to  the  inn,  where  we  were  safely  housed  like  a  flock  of 
sheep  folded  for  the  night.  The  inn  at  La  Maschere  is,  like  many 
of  the  inns  in  Italy,  a  set  of  wide  dilapidated  halls,  without  furniture, 
but  with  quantities  of  old  and  bad  pictures,  portraits  or  histories. 
The  people  (the  attendants  here  were  women)  were  obliging  and 
good-humoured,  though  we  could  procure  neither  eggs  nor  milk  with 
our  coffee,  but  were  compelled  to  have  it  hlack.  We  were  put  into 
a  sitting-room  with  three  beds  in  it  without  curtains,  as  they  had  no 
other  with  a  fire-place  disengaged,  and  which,  with  the  coverlids  like 
horse-cloths,  and  the  strong  smell  of  the  leaves  of  Indian  corn  with 
which  they  were  stuffed,  brought  to  one's  mind  the  idea  of  a  three- 
stalled  stable.  We  were  refreshed,  however,  for  we  slept  securely ; 
and  we  entered  upon  the  last  stage  betimes  the  following  day,  less 
exhausted  than  we  had  been  by  the  first.  We  had  left  the  unqualified 
desolation  and  unbroken  irregularity  of  the  Apennines  behind  us  ;  but 

2IO 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

we  were  still  occasionally  treated  with  a  rocky  cliff,  a  pine-grove,  a 
mountain-torrent ;  while  there  was  no  end  of  sloping  hills  with  old 
ruins  or  modern  villas  upon  them,  of  farm-houses  built  in  the  Tuscan 
taste,  of  gliding  streams  with  bridges  over  them,  of  meadow-grounds, 
and  thick  plantations  of  olives  and  cypresses  by  the  road  side. 

After  being  gratified  for  some  hours  with  the  cultivated  beauty  of 
the  scene  (rendered  more  striking  by  contrast  with  our  late  perils), 
we  came  to  the  brow  of  the  hill  overlooking  Florence,  which  lay 
under  us,  a  scene  of  enchantment,  a  city  planted  in  a  garden,  and 
resembling  a  rich  and  varied  suburb.  The  whole  presented  a  brilliant 
amphitheatre  of  hill  and  vale,  of  buildings,  groves,  and  terraces.  The 
circling  heights  were  crowned  with  sparkling  villas ;  the  varying 
landscape,  above  or  below,  waved  in  an  endless  succession  of  olive- 
grounds.  The  olive  is  not  unlike  the  common  willow  in  shape  or 
colour,  and  being  still  in  leaf,  gave  to  the  middle  of  winter  the  appear- 
ance of  a  grey  summer.  In  the  midst,  the  Duomo  and  other  churches 
raised  their  heads;  vineyards  and  olive-grounds  climbed  the  hills 
opposite  till  they  joined  a  snowy  ridge  of  Apennines  rising  above  the 
top  of  Fesole ;  one  plantation  or  row  of  trees  after  another  fringed 
the  ground,  like  rich  lace;  though  you  saw  it  not,  there  flowed  the 
Arno ;  every  thing  was  on  the  noblest  scale,  yet  finished  in  the 
minutest  part — the  perfection  of  nature  and  of  art,  populous,  splendid, 
full  of  life,  yet  simple,  airy,  embowered.  Florence  in  itself  is  inferior 
to  Bologna,  and  some  other  towns  ;  but  the  view  of  it  and  of  the 
immediate  neighboiu'hood  is  superior  to  any  I  have  seen.  It  is, 
indeed,  quite  delicious,  and  presents  an  endless  variety  of  enchanting 
walks.  It  is  not  merely  the  number  or  the  exquisiteness  or  admirable 
combination  of  the  objects,  their  forms  or  colour,  but  every  spot  is 
rich  in  associations  at  once  the  most  classical  and  romantic.  From 
ray  friend  L.  H.'s  house  at  Moiano,  you  see  at  one  view  the  village 
of  Setiniano,  belonging  to  Michael  Angelo's  family,  the  house  in 
which  Machiavel  lived,  and  that  where  Boccaccio  wrote,  two  ruined 

castles,  in  which  the  rival  families  of  the  Gerardeschi  and  the  

carried  on  the  most  deadly  strife,  and  which  seem  as  though  they 
might  still  rear  their  mouldering  heads  against  each  other  ;  and  not 
far  from  this  the  Valley  of  Ladies  (the  scene  of  The  Decameron),  and 
Fesole,  with  the  mountains  of  Perugia  beyond.  With  a  view  like 
this,  one  may  think  one's  sight  *  enriched,'  in  Burns's  phrase.  On 
the  ascent  towards  Fesole  is  the  house  where  Galileo  lived,  and 
where  he  was  imprisoned  after  his  release  from  the  Inquisition,  at  the 
time   Milton  saw  him.^     In  the  town  itself  are  Michael  Angelo's 

^  He  was  confined  in  the  Inquisition  about  six  weeks,  where  it  is  supposed  he 
was  put  to  the  torture  ;  for  he  had  strange  pains  in  his  limbs,  and  bodily  disabilities 

211 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

house,  the  Baptistery,  the  gates  of  which  he  thought  worthy  to  be 
the  gates  of  Paradise,  the  Duomo,  older  than  St.  Peter's,  the  ancient 
Palace  of  the  Medici  family,  the  Palace  Pitti,  and  here  also  stands 
the  statue  that  '  enchants  the  world.'  The  view  along  the  Arno  is 
certainly  delightful,  though  somewhat  confined,  and  the  bridges  over 
it  grotesque  and  old,  but  beautiful. 

The  streets  of  Florence  are  paved  entirely  with  flag-stones,  and  it 
has  an  odd  effect  at  first  to  see  the  horses  and  carriages  drive  over 
them.  You  get  out  of  their  way,  however,  more  easily  than  in  Paris, 
from  not  having  the  slipperiness  of  the  stones  to  contend  with.  The 
streets  get  dirty  after  a  slight  shower,  and  the  next  day  you  have 
clouds  of  dust  again.  Many  of  the  narrower  streets  are  like  lofty 
paved  courts,  cut  through  a  solid  quarry  of  stone.  In  general,  the 
public  buildings  are  old,  and  striking  chiefly  from  their  massiness  and 
the  quaintness  of  the  style  and  ornaments.  Florence  is  like  a  town 
that  has  survived  itself.  It  is  distinguished  by  the  remains  of  early 
and  rude  grandeur ;  it  is  left  where  it  was  three  hundred  years  ago. 
Its  history  does  not  seem  brought  down  to  the  present  period.  On 
entering  it,  you  may  imagine  yourself  enclosed  in  a  besieged  town ;  if 
you  turn  down  any  of  its  inferior  streets,  you  feel  as  if  you  might 
meet  the  plague  still  lurking  there.  Even  the  walks  out  of  the  town 
are  mostly  between  high  stone-walls,  which  are  a  bad  substitute  for 
hedges.  The  best  and  most  fashionable  is  that  along  the  river-side ; 
and  the  gay  dresses  and  glittering  equipages  passing  under  the  tall 
cedar-trees,  and  with  the  purple  hills  in  the  distance  for  a  back-ground, 
produce  a  delightful  effect,  particularly  when  seen  from  the  opposite 
side  of  the  river.  The  carriages  in  Florence  are  numerous  and 
splendid,  and  rival  those  in  London.  Lord  Burghersh's,  with  its 
six  horses  and  tall  footmen  in  fine  liveries,  is  only  distinguishable  from 
the  rest  by  the  little  child  in  a  blue  velvet  hat  and  coat,  looking  out  at 
the  window.  The  Corso  on  Sundays,  and  on  other  high  days  and 
holidays,  is  filled  with  a  double  row  of  open  carriages,  like  the  ring 
in  Hyde-Park,  moving  slowly  in  opposite  directions,  in  which  you 
see  the  flower  of  the  Florentine  nobility.  I  see  no  difference  between 
them  and  the  English,  except  that  they  are  darker  and  graver.  It 
was  Carnival-time  when  we  came,  and  the  town  presented  something 
of  the  same  scene  that  London  does  at  Bartholomew-Fair.  The 
streets  were  crowded  with  people,  half  of  them  masked.  But  what 
soon  took  off  from  the  gaiety  of  the  motley  assemblage  was,  that  you 
found  that  the  masks  were  all  the  same.     There  was  great  observance 

afterwards.     In  the  Museum  here  is  at  present  preserved,  in  a  glass-case,  a  finger 
of  Galileo,  pointing  to  the  skies  !     Such  is  the  history  of  philosophy  and  super- 
stition. 
212 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

of  the  season,  and  great  good-will  to  be  pleased,  but  a  dearth  of  wit 
and  invention.  Not  merely  the  uniformity  of  the  masks  grew  tire- 
some, but  the  seeing  an  inflexible  pasteboard  countenance  moving 
about  upon  a  living  body  (and  without  any  thing  quaint  or  extravagant 
in  the  actions  of  the  person  to  justify  a  resort  to  so  grotesque  a 
disguise)  shocked  by  its  unmeaning  incongruity.  May-day  in  London 
is  a  favourable  version  of  the  Carnival  here.  The  finery  of  the 
chimney-sweepers  is  an  agreeable  and  intelligible  contrast  to  their 
usual  squalidness.  Their  three  days'  license  has  spirit,  noise,  and 
mirth  in  it ;  whereas  the  dull  eccentricity  and  mechanical  antics  of 
the  Carnival  are  drawled  out  till  they  are  merged  without  any 
violent  effort  in  the  solemn  farce  of  Lent.  It  had  been  a  fine 
season  this  year,  and  it  is  said  that  the  difference  between  a 
good  season  and  a  bad  one  to  the  trades-people  is  so  great,  that  it 
pays  the  rent  of  their  houses.  No  one  is  allowed  to  wear  a 
mask,  after  Lent  commences,  and  the  priests  never  mask.  There 
is  no  need  that  they  should.  There  is  no  ringing  of  bells  here 
as  with  us  (triple  bob-majors  have  not  sent  their  cheering  sound 
into  the  heart  of  Italy)  ;  but  during  the  whole  ten  days  or  fort- 
night that  the  Carnival  continues,  there  is  a  noise  and  jangling  of 
bells,  such  as  is  made  by  the  idle  boys  in  a  country  town  on 
our  Shrove  Tuesday.  We  could  not  tell  exactly  what  to  make 
of  the  striking  of  the  clocks  at  first :  at  eight  they  struck  two  ;  at 
twelve  six.  We  thought  they  were  put  back  to  prevent  the  note 
of  time,  or  were  thrown  into  confusion  to  accord  with  the  license  of 
the  occasion.  A  day  or  two  cleared  up  the  mystery,  and  we  found 
that  the  clocks  here  (at  least  those  in  our  immediate  neighbourhood) 
counted  the  hours  by  sixes,  instead  of  going  on  to  twelve — which 
method,  when  you  are  acquainted  with  it,  saves  time  and  patience 
in  telling  the  hour.  I  have  only  heard  of  two  masks  that  seemed  to 
have  any  point  or  humour  in  them ;  and  one  of  these  was  not  a 
mask,  but  a  person  who  went  about  with  his  face  uncovered,  but 
keeping  it,  in  spite  of  every  thing  he  saw  or  heard,  in  the  same 
unmoved  position  as  if  it  were  a  mask.  The  other  was  a  person 
so  oddly  disguised,  that  you  did  not  know  what  to  make  of  him, 
whether  he  were  man  or  woman,  beast  or  bird,  and  who,  pretending  to 
be  equally  at  a  loss  himself,  went  about  asking  every  one,  if  they  could 
tell  him  what  he  was  ?  A  Neapolitan  nobleman  who  was  formerly 
in  England  (Count  Acetto),  carried  the  liberty  of  masking  too  far. 
He  went  to  the  English  Ambassador's  in  the  disguise  of  a  monk, 
carrying  a  bundle  of  wood  at  his  back,  with  a  woman's  legs  peeping 
out,  and  written  on  a  large  label,  '  Provision  for  the  Convent.'  The 
clergy,  it  is  said,  interfered,  and  he  has  been  exiled  to  Lucca.     Lord 

213 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

Burghersh  remonstrated  loudly  at  this  step,  as  a  violation  of  the 
dignity  and  privileges  of  Ambassadors.  The  offence,  whatever  it 
was,  was  committed  at  his  house,  and  the  English  Ambassador's 
house  is  supposed  to  be  in  England — the  absentees  here  were  alarmed, 
for  at  this  rate  strangers  might  be  sent  out  of  the  town  at  an 
hour's  notice  for  a  jest.  The  Count  called  in  person  on  the  Grand 
Duke,  who  shook  him  kindly  by  the  hand — the  Countess  Rinuccini 
demanded  an  interview  with  the  Grand  Duchess — but  the  clergy 
must  be  respected,  and  the  Count  has  been  sent  away.  There  has 
been  a  good  deal  of  talk  and  bustle  about  it — ask  the  opinion  of  a  dry 
Scotchman,  who  judges  of  every  thing  by  precedent,  and  he  will  tell 
you,  '  It  is  just  like  our  allien  Bill.'  It  is  a  rule  here  that  a  priest 
is  never  brought  upon  the  stage.  How  do  they  contrive  to  act  our 
Romeo  and  Juliet  ?  Moli^re's  Tartuffe  is  not  a  priest,  but  merely  a 
saint.  When  this  play  was  forbidden  to  be  acted  a  second  time  by 
the  Archbishop  of  Paris,  and  the  audience  loudly  demanded  the 
reason  of  its  being  withdrawn,  MoliSre  came  forward  and  said, 
'  Monsieur  I' Archenieque  ne  veut  pas  qu'il  soit  joue  ?  '  This  was  a 
hundred  and  fifty  years  ago.  With  so  much  wit  and  sense  in  the 
world  one  wonders  that  there  are  any  TartufFes  left  in  it ;  but  for  the 
last  hundred  and  fifty  years,  it  must  be  confessed,  they  have  had  but 
an  uneasy  life  of  it. 

Lent  is  not  kept  here  very  strictly.  The  streets,  however,  have 
rather  a  '  fishy  fume  '  in  consequence  of  it ;  and,  generally  speaking, 
the  use  of  garlick,  tobacco,  cloves  and  oil  gives  a  medicated  taint  to 
the  air.  The  number  of  pilgrims  to  Rome,  at  this  season,  is 
diminished  from  80  or  90,000  a  century  ago,  to  a  few  hundreds  at 
present.  We  passed  two  on  the  road,  with  their  staff  and  scrip  and 
motley  attire.  I  did  not  look  at  them  with  any  particle  of  respect. 
The  impression  was,  that  they  were  either  knaves  or  fools.  The 
farther  they  come  on  this  errand,  the  more  you  have  a  right  to 
suspect  their  motives,  not  that  I  by  any  means  suppose  these  are 
always  bad — but  those  who  signalise  their  zeal  by  such  long  marches 
obtain  not  only  absolution  for  the  past,  but  extraordinary  indulgence 
for  the  future,  so  that  if  a  person  meditate  any  baseness  or  mischief, 
a  pilgrimage  to  Rome  is  his  high  road  to  it.  The  Popish  religion  is 
a  convenient  cloak  for  crime,  an  embroidered  robe  for  virtue.  It 
makes  the  essence  of  good  and  ill  to  depend  on  rewards  and  punish- 
ments, and  places  these  in  the  hands  of  the  priests,  for  the  honour  of 
God  and  the  welfare  of  the  church.  Their  path  to  Heaven  is  a  kind 
of  gallery  directly  over  the  path  to  Hell ;  or,  rather,  it  is  the  same 
road,  only  that  at  the  end  of  it  you  kneel  down,  lift  up  your  hands 
and  eyes,  and  say  you  have  gone  wrong,  and  you  are  admitted  into 

214 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

the  right-hand  gate,  instead  of  the  left-hand  one.  Hell  is  said,  in 
the  strong  language  of  controversial  divinity,  to  be  '  paved  with  good 
intentions.'  Heaven,  according  to  some  fanatical  creeds,  is  '  paved 
with  mock-professions.'  Devotees  and  proselytes  are  passed  on  like 
wretched  paupers,  with  false  certificates  of  merit,  by  hypocrites  and 
bigots,  who  consider  submission  to  their  opinions  and  power  as  more 
than  equivalent  to  a  conformity  to  the  dictates  of  reason  or  the  will 
of  God.  All  this  is  charged  with  being  a  great  piece  of  cant  and 
imposture :  it  is  not  more  so  than  human  nature  itself.  Popery  is 
said  to  be  a  make-belie-ve  religion :  man  is  a  make-believe  animal — he 
is  never  so  truly  himself  as  when  he  is  acting  a  part ;  he  is  ever  at  war 
with  himself — his  theory  with  his  practice — what  he  would  be  (and 
therefore  pretends  to  be)  with  what  he  is ;  and  Popery  is  an 
admirable  receipt  to  reconcile  his  higher  and  his  lower  nature  in 
a  beautiful  equivoque  or  double-entendre  of  forms  and  mysteries, — the 
palpableness  of  sense  with  the  dim  abstractions  of  faith,  the  in- 
dulgence of  passion  with  the  atonement  of  confession  and  abject 
repentance  when  the  fit  is  over,  the  debasement  of  the  actual  with 
the  elevation  of  the  ideal  part  of  man's  nature,  the  Pagan  with  the 
Christian  religion ;  to  substitute  lip-service,  genuflections,  adoration 
of  images,  counting  of  beads,  repeating  of  Aves  for  useful  works 
or  pure  intentions,  and  to  get  rid  at  once  of  all  moral  obligation,  of 
all  self-control  and  self-respect,  by  the  proxy  of  maudlin  superstition, 
by  a  slavish  submission  to  priests  and  saints,  by  prostrating  ourselves 
before  them,  and  entreating  them  to  take  our  sins  and  weaknesses 
upon  them,  and  supply  us  with  a  saving  grace  (at  the  expence  of 
a  routine  of  empty  forms  and  words)  out  of  the  abundance  of 
their  merits  and  imputed  righteousness.  This  religion  suits  the 
pride  and  weakness  of  man's  intellect,  the  indolence  of  his 
will,  the  cowardliness  of  his  fears,  the  vanity  of  his  hopes,  his 
disposition  to  reap  the  profits  of  a  good  thing  and  leave  the  trouble 
to  others,  the  magnificence  of  his  pretensions  with  the  meanness 
of  his  performance,  the  pampering  of  his  passions,  the  stifling 
of  his  remorse,  the  making  sure  of  this  world  and  the  next,  the 
saving  of  his  soul  and  the  comforting  of  his  body.  It  is  adapted 
equally  to  kings  and  people — to  those  who  love  power  or  dread  it — 
who  look  up  to  others  as  Gods,  or  who  would  trample  them  under 
their  feet  as  reptiles — to  the  devotees  of  show  and  sound,  or  the 
visionary  and  gloomy  recluse — to  the  hypocrite  and  bigot — to  saints 
or  sinners — to  fools  or  knaves — to  men,  women,  and  children.  In 
short,  its  success  is  owing  to  this,  that  it  is  a  mixture  of  bitter  sweets 
— that  it  is  a  remedy  that  soothes  the  disease  it  affects  to  cure — 
that  it  is  not  an  antidote,  but  a  vent  for  the  peccant  humours,  the 

2IS 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

follies  and  vices  of  mankind,  with  a  salvo  in  favour  of  appearances, 
a  reserve  of  loftier  aspirations  (whenever  it  is  convenient  to  resort  to 
them),  and  a  formal  recognition  of  certain  general  principles,  as  a 
courtesy  of  speech,  or  a  compromise  between  the  understanding  and 
the  passions !  Omne  tuUt  punctum.  There  is  nothing  to  be  said 
against  it,  but  that  it  is  contrary  to  reason  and  common  sense  ;  and 
even  were  they  to  prevail  over  it,  some  other  absurdity  would  start 
up  in  its  stead,  not  less  mischievous  but  less  amusing ;  for  man  can- 
not exist  long  without  having  scope  given  to  his  propensity  to  the 
marvellous  and  contradictory.  Methodism  with  us  is  only  a  bastard 
kind  of  Popery,  with  which  the  rabble  are  intoxicated ;  and  to 
which  even  the  mistresses  of  Kings  might  resort  (but  for  its 
vulgarity)  to  repair  faded  charms  with  divine  graces,  to  exchange 
the  sighs  of  passion  for  the  tears  of  a  no  less  luxurious  repentance, 
and  to  exert  one  more  act  of  power  by  making  proselytes  of  their 
royal  paramours ! 

The  Popish  calendar  is  but  a  transposition  of  the  Pagan  Mythology. 
The  images,  shrines,  and  pictures  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  that  we  meet 
at  the  corner  of  every  street  or  turning  of  a  road,  are  not  of  modern 
date,  but  coeval  with  the  old  Greek  and  Roman  superstitions. 
There  were  the  same  shrines  and  images  formerly  dedicated  to  Flora, 
or  Ceres,  or  Pomona,  and  the  flowers  and  the  urn  still  remain.  The 
oaths  of  the  common  people  are  to  this  day  more  Heathen  than 
Catholic.  They  swear  '  By  the  countenance  of  Bacchus  ' — '  By  the 
heart  of  Diana.'  A  knavish  innkeeper,  if  you  complain  of  the  bad- 
ness of  his  wine,  swears  '  Per  Bacco  e  per  Dio,'  '  By  Bacchus  and  by 
God,  that  it  is  good !  '  I  wonder  when  the  change  in  the  forms  of 
image-worship  took  place  in  the  old  Roman  States,  and  what  effect  it 
had.  I  used  formerly  to  wonder  how  or  when  the  people  in  the 
mountains  of  Cumberland  and  Westmoreland,  and  who  live  in  solitudes 
to  which  the  town  of  Keswick  is  the  polite  world,  and  its  lake  •  the 
Leman-Lake,'  first  passed  from  Popery  to  Protestantism,  what 
difference  it  made  in  them  at  the  time,  or  has  done  to  the  present 
day  ?  The  answer  to  this  question  would  go  a  good  way  to  shew 
how  little  the  common  people  know  of  or  care  for  any  theory  of 
religion,  considered  merely  as  such.  Mr.  Southey  is  on  the  spot,  and 
might  do  something  towards  a  solution  of  the  difficulty  ! 

Customs  come  round.  I  was  surprised  to  find,  at  the  Hotel  of  the 
Four  Nations,  where  we  stopped  the  two  first  days,  that  we  could 
have  a  pudding  for  dinner  (a  thing  that  is  not  to  be  had  in  all  France)  ; 
and  I  concluded  this  was  a  luxury  which  the  Italians  had  been  com- 
pelled to  adopt  from  the  influx  of  the  English,  and  the  loudness  of 
their  demands  for  comfort.     I  understand  it  is  more  probable  that 

216 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

this  dish  is  indigenous  rather  than  naturalized ;  and  that  we  got  it 
from  them  in  the  time  of  Queen  Elizabeth,  when  our  intercourse  with 
Italy  was  more  frequent  than  it  was  with  France.  We  might  have 
remained  at  the  Four  Nations ;  for  eighteen  francs  a  day,  living  in 
a  very  sumptuous  manner ;  but  we  have  removed  to  apartments  fitted 
up  in  the  English  fashion,  for  ten  piastres  (two  guineas)  a  month, 
and  where  the  whole  of  our  expenses  for  boiled  and  roast,  with 
English  cups  and  saucers  and  steamed  potatoes,  does  not  come  to 
thirty  shillings  a  week.  We  have  every  English  comfort  with 
clearer  air  and  a  finer  country.  It  was  exceedingly  cold  when  we  first 
came,  and  we  felt  it  the  more  from  impatience  and  disappointment. 
From  the  thinness  of  the  air  there  was  a  feeling  of  nakedness  about 
you ;  you  seemed  as  if  placed  in  an  empty  receiver.  Not  a  particle 
of  warmth  or  feeling  was  left  in  your  whole  body :  it  was  just  as  if 
the  spirit  of  cold  had  penetrated  every  part ;  one  might  be  said  to  be 
•Dttrified.  It  is  now  milder  (Feb.  23),  and  like  April  weather  in 
England.  There  is  a  balmy  lightness  and  vernal  freshness  in  the 
air.  Might  I  once  more  see  the  coming  on  of  Spring  as  erst  in  the 
spring-time  of  my  life,  it  would  be  here  !  I  cannot  speak  to  the 
subject  of  manners  in  this  place,  except  as  to  outward  appearances, 
which  are  the  same  as  in  a  country  town  in  England.  •  Judging  by 
the  fashionable  test  on  this  subject,  they  must  be  very  bad  and 
desperate  indeed  ;  for  none  of  that  stream  of  prostitution  flows  down 
the  streets,  that  in  the  British  metropolis  is  supposed  to  purify  the 
morality  of  private  families,  and  to  carry  off  every  taint  of  grossness  or 
licentiousness  from  the  female  heart.  Cecisbeism  still  prevails  here, 
less  in  the  upper,  more  in  the  lower  classes  ;  and  may  serve  as  a  subject 
for  the  English  to  vent  their  spleen  and  outrageous  love  of  virtue  upon. 
Fesole,  that  makes  so  striking  a  point  of  view  near  Florence,  was 
one  of  the  twelve  old  Tuscan  cities  that  existed  before  the  time  of 
the  Romans,  and  afterwards  in  a  state  of  hostility  to  them.  It  is 
supposed  to  have  been  originally  founded  by  a  Greek  colony  that 
came  over  with  Cecrops,  and  others  go  back  to  the  time  of  Japhet  or 
to  Hesiod's  theogony.  Florence  was  not  founded  till  long  after.  It 
is  said  to  have  occupied  the  three  conically-shaped  hills  which  stand 
about  three  miles  from  Florence.  Here  was  fought  the  last  great 
battle  between  Catiline  and  the  Senate ;  and  here  the  Romans 
besieged  and  starved  to  death  an  army  of  the  Goths.  It  is  a  place 
of  the  highest  antiquity  and  renown,  but  it  does  not  bear  the  stamp 
of  anything  extraordinary  upon  its  face.  You  stand  upon  a  bleak, 
rocky  hill,  without  suspecting  it  to  have  been  the  centre  of  a  thronged 
population,  the  seat  of  battles  and  of  mighty  events  in  eldest  times. 
So    you    pass   through    cities    and    stately   palaces,    and    cannot    be 

217 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

persuaded  that,  one  day,  no  trace  of  them  will  be  left.  Italy  is  not 
favourable  to  the  look  of  age  or  of  length  of  time.  The  ravages  of 
the  climate  are  less  fatal ;  the  oldest  places  seem  rather  deserted  than 
mouldering  into  ruin,  and  the  youth  and  beauty  of  surrounding 
objects  mixes  itself  up  even  with  the  traces  of  devastation  and  decay. 
The  monuments  of  antiquity  appear  to  enjoy  a  green  old  age  in  the 
midst  of  the  smiling  productions  of  modern  civilization.  The  gloom 
of  the  seasons  does  not  at  any  rate  add  its  weight  to  the  gloom  and 
antiquity.  It  was  in  Italy,  I  believe,  that  Milton  had  the  spirit  and 
buoyancy  of  imagination  to  write  his  Latin  sonnet  on  the  Platonic 
idea  of  the  archetype  of  the  world,  where  he  describes  the  shadowy 
cave  in  which  'dwelt  Eternity'  (^otiosa  eternitas),  and  ridicules  the 
apprehension  that  Nature  could  ever  grow  old,  or  '  shake  her  starry 
head  with  palsy.'  It  has  been  well  observed,  that  there  is  more  of 
the  germ  of  Paradise  Lost  in  the  author's  early  Latin  poems,  than  in 
his  early  English  ones,  which  are  in  a  strain  rather  playful  and 
tender,  than  stately  or  sublime.  It  is  said  that  several  of  Milton's 
Poems,  which  he  wrote  at  this  period,  are  preserved  in  manuscript  in 
the  libraries  in  Florence  ;  but  it  is  probable  that  if  so,  they  are  no 
more  than  duplicates  of  those  already  known,  which  he  gave  to 
friends.  His  reputation  here  was  high,  and  delightful  to  think  of; 
and  a  volume  was  dedicated  to  him  by  Malatesta,  a  poet  of  the  day, 
and  a  friend  of  Redi — '  To  the  ingenuous  and  learned  young  English- 
man, John  Milton.'  When  one  thinks  of  the  poor  figure  which  our 
countrymen  often  make  abroad,  and  also  of  the  supposed  reserved  habits 
and  puritanical  sourness  of  our  great  English  Epic  Poet,  one  is  a  little 
in  pain  for  his  reception  among  foreigners  and  surprised  at  his  success, 
for  which,  perhaps,  his  other  accomplishments  (as  his  skill  in  music) 
and  his  personal  advantages,  may,  in  some  measure,  account.  There 
is  another  consideration  to  be  added,  which  is,  that  Milton  did  not 
labour  under  the  disadvantage  of  addressing  foreigners  in  their  native 
tongue,  but  conversed  with  them  on  equal  terms  in  Latin.  That  was 
surely  the  polite  and  enviable  age  of  letters,  when  the  learned  spoke  a 
common  and  well-known  tongue,  instead  of  petty,  huckstering,  Gothic 
dialects  of  different  nations  !  Now,  every  one  who  is  not  a  French- 
man, or  who  does  not  gabble  French,  is  no  better  than  a  stammerer 
or  a  changeling  out  of  his  own  country.  I  do  not  complain  of  this 
as  a  very  great  grievance ;  but  it  certainly  prevents  those  far-famed 
meetings  between  learned  men  of  different  nations,  which  are  recorded 
in  history,  as  of  Sir  Thomas  More  with  Erasmus,  and  of  Milton  with 
the  philosophers  and  poets  of  Italy. 

'  Sweet  is  the  dialect  of  Arno's  vale  : 
Though  half  consumed,  I  gladly  turn  to  hear.' 
218 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

So  Dante  makes  one  of  his  heroes  exclaim.  It  is  pleasant  to  hear 
or  speak  one's  native  tongue  when  abroad  ;  but  possibly  the  language 
of  that  higher  and  adopted  country,  which  was  familiar  to  the  scholar 
of  former  times,  sounded  even  sweeter  to  the  ear  of  friendship  or  of 


ffenius. 


CHAPTER  XVII 

The  first  thing  you  do  when  you  get  to  a  town  abroad  is  to  go  to  the 
Post-office  in  expectation  of  letters,  which  you  are  sure  not  to  receive 
exactly  in  proportion  as  you  are  anxious  to  have  them.  Friends  at 
a  distance  have  you  at  a  disadvantage  ;  and  they  let  you  know  it,  if 
they  will  let  you  know  nothing  else.  There  is  in  this  a  love  of 
power  or  of  contradiction,  and  at  the  same  time  a  want  of  imagina- 
tion. They  cannot  change  places  with  you,  or  suppose  how  you 
can  be  so  much  at  a  loss  about  what  is  so  obvious  to  them.  It 
seems  putting  them  to  unnecessary  trouble  to  transmit  a  self-evident 
truth  (which  it  is  upon  the  spot)  a  thousand  miles  (where  it  becomes 
a  discovery).  You  have  this  comfort,  however,  under  the  delay  of 
letters,  that  they  have  no  bad  news  to  send  you,  or  you  would  hear 
of  it  in  an  instant. 

When  you  are  disappointed  of  your  letters  at  the  post-office  at 
Florence,  you  turn  round,  and  find  yourself  in  the  square  of  the 
Grand  Duke,  with  the  old  Palace  opposite  to  you,  and  a  number 
of  colossal  statues,  bleached  in  the  open  air,  in  front  of  it.  They 
seem  a  species  of  huge  stone-masonry.  What  is  your  surprise  to 
learn,  that  they  are  the  Hercules  of  Bandinello,  and  the  David  of 
Michael  Angelo  !  Not  far  from  these,  is  the  Perseus  of  Benvenuto 
Cellini,  which  he  makes  such  a  fuss  about  in  his  Life.^  It  is  of 
bronze.  After  a  great  deal  of  cabal,  before  he  was  employed  on 
this  work,  and  great  hostility  and  disagreeable  obstacles  thrown  in- 
his  way  in  the  progress  of  it,  he  at  length  finished  the  mould,  and 
prepared  to  cast  the  figure.  He  found  that  the  copper  which  he 
had  at  first  thrown  in  did  not  work  kindly.  After  one  or  two 
visits  to  the  furnace,  he  grew  impatient,  and  seizing  on  all  the  lead, 
iron,  and  brass  he  could  lay  his  hands  on  in  the  house,  threw  it 
pell-mell,  and  in  a  fit  of  desperation,  into  the  melting  mass,  and 
retired  to  wait  the  result.      After  passing  an   hour  in  the  greatest 

^  The  jewellers'  shops  on  the  bridge,  in  one  of  which  he  was  brought  up,  still 
remain.  The  Rape  of  the  Sabines,  by  John  of  Bologna,  near  Benvenuto's  Perseus, 
is  an  admirable  group  :  nothing  can  exceed  the  fleshiness  and  softened  contours  of 
the  female  figure,  seen  in  every  direction. 

219 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

agitation,  he  returned ;  and  inspecting  the  cast,  to  his  extreme  joy 
discovered  it  to  be  smooth  and  perfect,  without  a  flaw  in  any  part, 
except  a  dint  in  the  heel.  He  then  sat  down  to  enjoy  his  triumph 
over  his  enemies,  and  to  devour  a  cold  chicken  (which  he  had 
provided  for  his  supper)  with  vast  composure  and  relish.  It  is  a 
pity  that  a  work  produced  under  such  auspicious  circumstances  does 
not  altogether  answer  the  romantic  expectations  formed  of  it.  There 
is  something  petty  and  forced  about  it ;  and  it  smells  of  the  gold- 
smith's and  jeweller's  shop.  I  would  rather  see  the  large  silver 
vase,  richly  embossed  by  him  with  groups  of  flowers  and  figures, 
which  was  ordered  by  the  Pope  and  placed  under  his  table  for  the 
Cardinals  and  other  guests  to  throw  their  bones  into,  instead  of 
throwing  them  on  the  floor  for  the  dogs  to  pick  up,  as  had  hitherto 
been  the  custom— a  fine  proof  of  the  mingled  barbarism  and  refine- 
ment of  those  days.i  Benvenuto  was  a  character  and  a  genius,  and 
more  of  a  character  than  of  a  genius ;  for,  after  all,  the  greatest 
geniuses  are  '  men  of  no  mark  or  likelihood.'  Their  strongest 
impulses  are  not  personal,  but  pass  out  of  themselves  into  the 
universe ;  nor  do  they  waste  their  energies  upon  their  private  whims 
and  perverse  peculiarities.  In  Bandinello  one  does  not  look  for 
much ;  he  was  never  much  esteemed,  and  is  made  a  butt  of  by 
Benvenuto  Cellini.  But  what  shall  we  say  to  a  commonplace  or 
barbarous  piece  of  work  by  Michael  Angelo  ?  The  David  is  as  if 
a  large  mass  of  solid  marble  fell  upon  one's  head,  to  crush  one's 
faith  in  great  names.  It  looks  like  an  awkward  overgrown  actor 
at  one  of  our  minor  theatres,  without  his  clothes  :  the  head  is  too 
big  for  the  body,  and  it  has  a  helpless  expression  of  distress.  The 
Bacchus  in  the  Gallery,  by  the  same  artist,  is  no  better.  It  is  pot- 
bellied, lank,  and  with  a  sickly,  mawkish  aspect.  Both  these  statues 
were,  it  is  true,  done  when  he  was  very  young ;  and  the  latter,  when 
finished,  he  buried  underground,  and  had  it  dug  up  as  an  antique, 
and  when  it  was  pronounced  by  the  virtuosi  of  the  day  to  be  superior 
to  any  thing  in  modern  art,  he  produced  the  arm  (which  he  had 
broken  off),  and  claimed  it  as  his  own,  to  the  confusion  of  his 
adversaries.  Such  is  the  story  ;  and  under  the  safeguard  of  this 
tradition,  it  has  passed,  criticism-proof.  There  are  two  pictures 
here  attributed  to  this  great  artist ;  one  in  the  Gallery,  and  another 
in  the  Palace  Pitti,  of  The  Fates,  which  are  three  meagre,  dry, 
mean-looking  old  women.  I  shall  not  return  to  this  subject  till 
I  get  to  the  Vatican,  and  then  I  hope  to  tell  a  different  story. 
Nothing  more  casts  one  down  than  to  find  an  utter  disproportion 
between  the  reality  and  one's  previous  conceptions  in  a  case  of  this 

^  See  his  Memoirs  of  himself,  lately  re-translated  by  Thomas  Roscoe,  Esq, 

220 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

kind,  when  one  has  been  brooding  all  one's  life  over  an  idea  of 
greatness.  If  one  could  sneak  off  with  one's  disappointment  in  one's 
pocket,  and  say  nothing  about  it,  or  whisper  it  to  the  reeds,  or  bury 
it  in  a  hole,  or  throw  it  into  the  river  (Arno),  where  no  one  would 
fish  it  up,  it  would  not  signify  ;  but  to  be  obliged  to  note  it  in  one's 
common-place  book,  and  publish  it  to  all  the  world,  'tis  villainous ! 
It  is  well  one  can  turn  from  disagreeable  thoughts  like  these  to  a 
landscape  of  Titian's  (the  Holy  Family  at  the  Pitti  Palace).  A 
green  bank  in  the  fore-ground  presents  a  pastoral  scene  of  sheep  and 
cattle  reposing  ;  then  you  have  the  deep  green  of  the  middle  distance, 
then  the  blue-topped  hills,  and  the  golden  sky  beyond,  with  the  red 
branches  of  an  autumn  wood  rising  into  it ;  and  in  the  faces  of  the 
bending  group  you  see  the  tints  of  the  evening  sky  reflected,  and  the 
freshness  of  the  landscape  breathed  on  their  features.  The  depth  and 
harmony  of  colouring  in  natural  objects,  refined  in  passing  through 
the  painter's  mind,  mellowed  by  the  hand  of  time,  has  acquired  the 
softness  and  shadowy  brilliancy  of  a  dream,  and  while  you  gaze  at  it, 
you  seem  to  be  entranced  !  But  to  take  things  somewhat  more  in 
order. — 

One  of  the  striking  things  in  the  Gallery  at  Florence  (given  to 
the  City  by  one  of  the  Medici  Family)  is  the  Collection  of  Antique 
Busts.  The  Statues  of  Gods  are  the  poetry  of  the  art  of  that  period. 
The  busts  of  men  and  women  handed  down  to  us  are  the  history  of 
the  species.  You  see  the  busts  of  Vitellius  (whose  throat  seems 
bursting  with  'the  jowl'  and  a  dish  of  lampreys),  Galba,  Trajan, 
Augustus,  Julia,  Faustina,  Messalina ;  and  you  ask,  were  there  real 
beings  like  these  existing  two  thousand  years  ago  ?  It  is  an  exten- 
sion of  the  idea  of  humanity  ;  and  '  even  in  death  there  is  animation 
too.'  History  is  vague  and  shadowy,  but  sculpture  gives  life  and 
body  to  it ;  the  names  and  letters  in  time-worn  books  start  up  real 
people  in  marble,  and  you  no  longer  doubt  their  identity  with  the 
present  race.  Nature  produced  forms  then  as  perfect  as  she  does 
now. — Forsyth  and  others  have  endeavoured  to  invalidate  the  authen- 
ticity of  these  busts,  and  to  shew  that  few  of  them  can  be  traced  with 
certainty  to  the  persons  whose  names  they  bear.  That  with  me  is 
not  the  question.  The  interesting  point  is  not  to  know  tuho  they 
were,  but  that  they  were.  There  is  no  doubt  that  they  are  busts  of 
people  living  two  thousand  years  ago,  and  that  is  all  that  my  moral 
demands.  As  to  individual  character,  it  would  be  as  well  sometimes 
to  find  it  involved  in  obscurity ;  for  some  of  the  persons  are  better 
looking  than  for  the  truth  of  physiognomy  they  ought  to  be.  Nero 
is  as  handsome  a  gentleman  as  his  eulogists  could  wish  him  to  be. 
The  truth  is,  that  what  pleases  me  in  these  busts  and  others  of  the 

221 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

same  kind  that  I  have  seen  is,  that  they  very  much  resemble  English 
people  of  sense  and  education  in  the  present  day,  only  with  more 
regular  features.  They  are  grave,  thoughtful,  unaffected.  There 
is  not  a  face  among  them  that  you  could  mistake  for  a  French  face. 
These  fine  old  heads,  in  short,  confirm  one  in  the  idea  of  general 
humanity :   French  faces  stagger  one's  faith  in  the  species  ! 

There  are  two  long  galleries  enriched  with  busts  and  statues  of  the 
most  interesting  description,  with  a  series  of  productions  of  the  early 
Florentine  school,  the  Flying  Mercury  of  John  of  Bologna,  &c. ;  and 
in  a  room  near  the  centre  (called  the  Tribune)  stands  the  Venus  of 
Medici,  with  some  other  statues  and  pictures  not  unworthy  to  do  her 
homage.  I  do  not  know  what  to  say  of  the  Venus,  nor  is  it 
necessary  to  say  much  where  all  the  world  have  already  formed  an 
opinion  for  themselves ;  yet,  perhaps,  this  opinion,  which  seems  the 
most  universal,  is  the  least  so,  and  the  opinion  of  all  the  world  means 
that  of  no  one  individual  in  it.  The  end  of  criticism,  however,  is 
rather  to  direct  attention  to  objects  of  taste,  than  to  dictate  to  it. 
Besides,  one  has  seen  the  Venus  so  often  and  in  so  many  shapes,  that 
custom  has  blinded  one  equally  to  its  merits  or  defects.  Instead  of 
giving  an  opinion,  one  is  disposed  to  turn  round  and  ask, .'  What  do 
you  think  of  it  ? '  It  is  like  a  passage  in  the  '  Elegant  Extracts,' 
which  one  has  read  and  admired,  till  one  does  not  know  what  to 
make  of  it,  or  how  to  affix  any  ideas  to  the  words :  beauty  and 
sweetness  end  in  an  unmeaning  commonplace !  If  I  might,  notwith- 
standing, hazard  a  hyper-criticism,  I  should  say,  that  it  is  a  little  too 
much  like  an  exquisite  marble  doll.  I  should  conjecture  (for  it  is 
only  conjecture  where  familiarity  has  neutralized  the  capacity  of 
judging)  that  there  is  a  want  of  sentiment,  of  character,  a  balance 
of  pretensions  as  well  as  of  attitude,  a  good  deal  of  insipidity,  and  an 
over-gentility.  There  is  no  expression  of  mental  refinement,  nor 
much  of  voluptuous  blandishment.  There  is  great  softness,  sweetness, 
symmetry,  and  timid  grace — a  faultless  taraeness,  a  negative  perfec- 
tion. The  Apollo  Belvidere  is  positively  bad,  a  theatrical  coxcomb, 
and  ill-made ;  I  mean  compared  with  the  Theseus.  The  great 
objection  to  the  Venus  is,  that  the  form  has  not  the  true  feminine 
proportions ;  it  is  not  sufficiently  large  in  the  lower  limbs,  but  tapers 
too  much  to  a  point,  so  that  it  wants  firmness  and  a  sort  of  indolent 
repose  (the  proper  attribute  of  woman),  and  seems  as  if  the  least 
thing  would  overset  it.  In  a  word,  the  Venus  is  a  very  beautiful 
toy,  but  not  the  Goddess  of  Love,  or  even  of  Beauty.  It  is  not  the 
statue  Pygmalion  fell  in  love  with ;  nor  did  any  man  ever  wish  or 
fancy  his  mistress  to  be  like  it.  There  is  something  beyond  it,  both 
in  imagination  and  in  nature.     Neither  have  we  a  firm  faith  in  the 

222 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

identity  of  the  Goddess ;  it  is  a  nice  point,  whether  any  such  form 
ever  existed.  Now  let  us  say  what  we  will  of  the  ideal,  it  ought, 
when  embodied  to  the  senses,  to  bear  the  stamp  of  the  most  absolute 
reality,  for  it  is  only  an  image  taken  from  nature,  with  every  thing 
omitted  that  might  contradict  or  disturb  its  uniformity.  The  Venus 
is  not  a  poetical  and  abstract  personification  of  certain  qualities  ;  but 
an  individual  model,  that  has  been  altered  and  tampered  with.  It 
would  have  had  a  better  effect  if  executed  in  ivory,  with  gold  sandals 
and  bracelets,  like  that  of  Phidias  (mentioned  by  Pliny),  to  define 
its  pretensions  as  belonging  to  the  class  of  ornamental  art;  for  it 
neither  carries  the  mind  into  the  regions  of  ancient  mythology,  nor 
of  ancient  poetry,  nor  rises  to  an  equality  of  style  with  modern 
poetry  or  painting.  Raphael  has  figures  of  far  greater  grace,  both 
mental  and  bodily.  The  Apollo  of  Medicis,  which  is  in  the  same 
room,  is  a  very  delightful  specimen  of  Grecian  art ;  but  it  has  the 
fault  of  being  of  that  equivocal  size  (I  believe  called  small-life)  which 
looks  like  diminutive  nature,  not  nature  diminished. 

Raphael's  Fornarina  (which  is  also  in  this  highly-embellished 
cabinet  of  art)  faces  the  Venus,  and  is  a  downright,  point-blank 
contrast  to  it.  Assuredly  no  charge  can  be  brought  against  it  of 
mimmini-piminee  affectation  or  shrinking  delicacy.  It  is  robust,  full 
to  bursting,  coarse,  luxurious,  hardened,  but  wrought  up  to  an  infinite 
degree  of  exactness  and  beauty  in  the  details.  It  is  the  perfection 
of  vulgarity  and  refinement  together.  The  Fornarina  is  a  bouncing, 
buxom,  sullen,  saucy  baker's  daughter — but  painted,  idolized,  immor- 
talized by  Raphael !  Nothing  can  be  more  homely  and  repulsive 
than  the  original ;  you  see  her  bosom  swelling  like  the  dough  rising 
in  the  oven ;  the  tightness  of  her  skin  puts  you  in  mind  of  Trim's 
story  of  the  sausage-maker's  wife — nothing  can  be  much  more 
enchanting  than  the  picture — than  the  care  and  delight  with  which 
the  artist  has  seized  the  lurking  glances  of  the  eye,  curved  the 
corners  of  the  mouth,  smoothed  the  forehead,  dimpled  the  chin, 
rounded  the  neck,  till  by  innumerable  delicate  touches,  and  the 
'  labour  of  love,'  he  has  converted  a  coarse,  rude  mass  into  a  miracle 
of  art.  Raphael,  in  the  height  of  his  devotion,  and  as  it  were  to 
insinuate  that  nothing  could  be  too  fine  for  this  idol  of  his  fancy 
(as  Rousseau  prided  himself  in  writing  the  letters  of  Julia  on  the 
finest  paper  with  gilt  edges)  has  painted  the  chain  on  the  Fornarina's 
neck  with  actual  gold-leaf.  Titian  would  never  have  thought  of  such 
a  thing ;  he  could  not  have  been  guilty  of  such  a  solecism  in  painting, 
as  to  introduce  a  solid  substance  without  shadow.  Highly  as 
Raphael  has  laboured  this  portrait,  it  still  shows  his  inferiority  to 
Titian  in  the  imitative  part  of  painting.     The  colour  on  the  cheeks 

223 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

of  the  Fornarina  seems  laid  on  the  skin  ;  in  the  girl  by  Titian  at  the 
Pitti  Palace,  it  is  seen  through  it.  The  one  appears  tanned  by  the 
sun  ;  the  other  to  have  been  out  in  the  air,  or  is  like  a  flower  '  just 
washed  in  the  dew.'  Again,  the  surface  of  the  flesh  in  Raphael  is 
so  smooth,  that  you  are  tempted  to  touch  it :  in  Titian,  it  retires 
from  the  touch  into  a  shadowy  recess.  There  is  here  a  duplicate 
(varied)  of  his  Mistress  at  her  Toilette  (to  be  seen  in  the  Louvre), 
dressed  in  a  loose  night-robe,  and  with  the  bosom  nearly  bare.  It  is 
very  carefully  finished,  and  is  a  rich  study  of  colouring,  expression, 
and  natural  grace.  Of  the  Titian  Venus  (with  her  gouvernante  and 
chest  of  clothes  in  the  background)  I  cannot  say  much.  It  is  very 
like  the  common  print.  The  Endymion  by  Guercino  has  a  divine 
character  of  pensive  softness,  and  youthful,  manly  grace,  and  the 
impression  made  by  the  picture  answers  to  that  made  by  the  fable — 
an  excellent  thing  in  history  !  It  is  one  of  the  finest  pictures  in 
Florence.  I  should  never  have  done  if  I  were  to  go  into  the  details. 
I  can  only  mention  a  few  of  the  principal.  Near  the  Fornarina  is 
the  Young  St.  John  in  the  Wilderness,  by  Raphael ;  it  is  very  dark, 
very  hard,  and  very  fine,  like  an  admirable  carving  in  wood.  He 
has  here  also  two  Holy  Families,  full  of  playful  sweetness  and  mild 
repose.  There  are  also  two  by  Correggio  of  the  same  subject,  and  a 
fine  and  bold  study  of  the  Head  of  a  Boy.  There  is  a  spirit  of  joy 
and  laughing  grace  contained  in  this  head,  as  the  juice  of  wine  is  in 
the  grape.  Correggio  had  a  prodigious  raciness  and  gusto,  when  he 
did  not  fritter  them  away  by  false  refinement  and  a  sort  of  fastidious 
hypercriticism  upon  himself.  His  sketches,  I  suspect,  are  better 
than  his  finished  works.  One  of  the  Holy  Families  here  is  the  very 
acme  of  the  affettuoso  and  Delia  Cruscan  style  of  painting.  The 
figure  of  the  Madonna  is  like  a  studiously-involved  period  or  turn 
upon  words  :  the  infant  Christ  on  the  ground  is  a  diminutive  appella- 
tion, a  prettiness,  a  fairy-fancy.  Certainly,  it  bears  no  proportion  to 
the  Mother,  whose  hands  are  bent  back  over  it  with  admiration  and 
delight,  till  grace  becomes  a  cramp,  and  her  eye-lids  droop  and  quiver 
over  the  fluttering  object  of  her  '  strange  child-worship,'  almost  as  if 
they  were  moved  by  metallic  tractors.  The  other  Madonna  is  per- 
fectly free  from  any  taint  of  affectation.  It  is  a  plain  rustic  beauty, 
innocent,  interesting,  simple,  without  one  contortion  of  body  or  of 
mind.  It  is  sweetly  painted.  The  Child  is  also  a  pure  study  after 
nature  :  the  blood  is  tingling  in  his  veins,  and  his  face  has  an  admir- 
able expression  of  careless  infantine  impatience.  The  old  Man  at 
the  side  is  a  masterpiece,  with  all  this  painter's  knowledge  of  fore- 
shortening, chiaroscuro,  the  management  of  drapery,  &c.  Herodias's 
Daughter,  by  Luini,  is  an  elaborate  and  successful  imitation  of 
224 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

Leonardo  da  Vinci.  The  Medusa's  Head  of  the  latter  is  hardly, 
I  think,  so  fine  as  Barry's  description  of  it.  It  has  not  quite  the 
watery  languor — the  dim  obscurity.  The  eyes  of  the  female  are  too 
much  like  the  eyes  of  the  snakes,  red,  crusted,  and  edgy.  I  shall 
only  notice  one  picture  more  in  this  collection — the  Last  Judgment, 
by  Bronzino.  It  has  vast  merit  in  the  drawing  and  expression,  but 
its  most  remarkable  quality  is  the  amazing  relief  without  any  perceiv- 
able shadow,  and  the  utmost  clearness  with  the  smallest  possible 
variety  of  tint.  It  looks  like  a  Mosaic  painting.  The  specimens  of 
the  Dutch  and  other  foreign  schools  here  are  upon  a  small  scale,  and 
of  inferior  value. 

The  Palace  Pitti  was  begun  by  one  of  the  Strozzi,  who  boasted 
that  he  would  build  a  palace  with  a  court-yard  in  it,  in  which  another 
palace  might  dance.  He  had  nearly  ruined  himself  by  the  expense, 
when  one  of  the  Medici  took  it  off  his  hands  and  completed  it.  It 
is  at  present  the  residence  of  the  Grand  Duke.  The  view  within 
over  the  court-yard  to  the  terrace  and  mount  above  is  superb.  Here 
is  the  Venus  of  Canova,  an  elegant  sylph-like  figure  ;  but  Canova  was 
more  to  be  admired  for  delicacy  of  finishing,  than  for  expression  or 
conception  of  general  form.  At  the  Gallery  there  is  one  room  full 
of  extraordinary  pictures  and  statues :  at  the  Palace  Pitti  there  are 
six  or  seven  covered  with  some  of  the  finest  portraits  and  history- 
pieces  in  the  world,  and  the  walls  are  dark  with  beauty,  and  breathe 
an  air  of  the  highest  art  from  them.  It  is  one  of  the  richest  and 
most  original  Collections  I  have  seen.  It  is  not  so  remarkable  for 
variety  of  style  or  subject  as  for  a  noble  opulence  and  aristocratic 
pride,  having  to  boast  names  in  the  highest  ranks  of  art,  and  many  of 
their  best  works.  The  Palace  Pitti  formerly  figured  in  the  Catalogue 
of  the  Louvre,  which  it  had  contributed  to  enrich  with  many  of  its 
most  gorgeous  jewels,  which  have  been  brought  back  to  their  original 
situation,  and  which  now  shine  here,  though  not  with  unreflected 
lustre,  nor  in  solitary  state.  Among  these,  for  instance,  is  Titian's 
Hippolito  di  Medici  (which  the  late  Mr.  Opie  pronounced  the  finest 
portrait  in  the  world ) ,  with  the  spirit  and  breadth  of  history,  and  with 
the  richness,  finish,  and  glossiness  of  an  enamel  picture.  I  remember 
the  first  time  I  ever  saw  it,  it  stood  on  an  easel  which  I  had  to  pass, 
with  the  back  to  me,  and  as  I  turned  and  saw  it  with  the  boar-spear 
in  its  hand,  and  its  keen  glance  bent  upon  me,  it  seemed  '  a  thing  of 
life,'  with  supernatural  force  and  grandeur.  The  famous  music-piece 
by  Giorgioni  was  at  one  time  in  the  Louvre,  and  is  not  a  whit 
inferior  to  Titian.  The  head  turned  round  of  the  man  playing  on 
the  harpsichord,  for  air,  expression,  and  a  true  gusto  of  colouring, 
may  challenge  competition  all  the  world  through.      There  goes  a 

VOL.  IX.  :  p  225 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

tradition  that  these  are  the  portraits  of  Luther  and  Calvin.  Giorgioni 
died  at  the  age  of  thirty-four,  heart-broken,  it  is  said,  because  one  of 
his  scholars  had  robbed  him  of  his  mistress — possibly  the  very  beauty 
whose  picture  is  introduced  here.  Leo  x.,  by  Raphael,  that  fine, 
stern,  globular  head,  on  which  '  deliberation  sits  and  public  care,'  is 
in  the  same  room  with  the  Cardinal  Bentivoglio,  one  of  Vandyke's 
happiest  and  most  spiritual  heads — a  fine  group  of  portraits  by  Rubens, 
of  himself,  his  brother,  Grotius  and  Justus  Lipsius,  all  in  one  frame 
— an  admirable  Holy  Family,  in  this  master's  very  best  manner,  by 
Julio  Romano — and  the  Madonna  della  Seggia  of  Raphael — all  of 
these  were  formerly  in  the  Louvre.  The  last  is  painted  on  wood, 
and  worn,  so  as  to  have  a  crayon  look.  But  for  the  grouping,  the 
unconscious  look  of  intelligence  in  the  children,  and  the  rounding  and 
fleshiness  of  the  forms  of  their  limbs,  this  is  one  of  the  artist's  most 
unrivalled  works.  There  are  also  several  by  Andrea  del  Sarto,  con- 
ceived and  finished  with  the  highest  taste  and  truth  of  feeling ;  a 
Nymph  and  Satyr  by  Giorgioni,  of  great  gusto ;  Hercules  and 
Antxus,  by  Schiavoni  (an  admirable  study  of  bold  drawing  and 
poetical  colouring),  an  unfinished  sketch  by  Guido,  several  by  Cigoli 
and  Fra.  Bartolomeo ;  a  girl  in  a  flowered  dress,  by  Titian  (of 
which  Mr.  Northcote  possesses  a  beautiful  copy  by  Sir  Joshua)  ; 
another  portrait  of  a  Man  in  front  view  and  a  Holy  Family,  by  the 
same ;  and  one  or  two  fine  pieces  by  Rubens  and  Rembrandt. 
There  is  a  Parmegiano  here,  in  which  is  to  be  seen  the  origin  of 
Mr.  Fuseli's  style,  a  child  in  its  mother's  lap,  with  its  head  rolling 
away  from  its  body,  the  mother's  face  looking  down  upon  it  with 
green  and  red  cheeks  tapering  to  a  point,  and  a  thigh  of  an  angel, 
which  you  cannot  well  piece  to  an  urn  which  he  carries  in  his  hand, 
and  which  seems  like  a  huge  scale  of  the  '  shardborne  beetle.' — The 
grotesque  and  discontinuous  are,  in  fact,  carried  to  their  height. 
Here  is  also  the  Conspiracy  of  Catiline,  by  Salvator  Rosa,  which 
looks  more  like  a  Cato-street  Conspiracy  than  any  thing  else,  or  a 
bargain  struck  in  a  blacksmith's  shop ;  and  a  Battle-piece  by  the  same 
artist,  with  the  round  haunches  and  flowing  tail  of  a  white  horse 
repeated,  and  some  fierce  faces,  hid  by  the  smoke  and  their  helmets, 
of  which  you  can  make  neither  head  nor  tail.  Salvator  was  a  great 
landscape-painter;  but  both  he  and  Lady  Morgan  have  been  guilty 
of  a  great  piece  of  egotism  in  supposing  that  he  was  any  thing  more. 
These  are  the  chief  failures,  but  in  general  out  of  heaps  of  pictures 
there  is  scarce  one  that  is  not  of  the  highest  interest  both  in  itself, 
and  from  collateral  circumstances.  Those  who  come  in  search  of 
high  Italian  art  will  here  find  it  in  perfection ;  and  if  they  do  not 
feel  this,  they  may  turn  back  at  once.  The  pictures  in  the  Pitti 
226 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

Palace  are  finely  preserved,  and  have  that  deep,  mellow  tone  of  age 
upon  them  which  is  to  the  eyes  of  a  connoisseur  in  painting  as  the 
rust  of  medals  or  the  crust  on  wine  is  to  connoisseurs  and  judges  of  a 
different  stamp. 


CHAPTER   XVIII 

The  road  between  Florence  and  Rome  by  Sienna  is  not  very  interest- 
ing, though  it  presents  a  number  of  reflections  to  those  who  are  well 
acquainted  with  the  changes  that  have  taken  place  in  the  history  and 
agriculture  of  these  districts.  Shortly  after  you  leave  Florence,  the 
way  becomes  dreary  and  barren  or  unhealthy.  Towards  the  close  of 
the  first  day's  journey,  however,  we  had  a  splendid  view  of  the 
country  we  were  to  travel,  which  lay  stretched  out  beneath  our  feet 
to  an  immense  distance,  as  we  descended  into  the  little  town  of  Pozzo 
Borgo.  Deep  valleys  sloped  on  each  side  of  us,  from  which  the 
smoke  of  cottages  occasionally  curled  :  the  branches  of  an  overhanging 
birch-tree  or  a  neighbouring  ruin  gave  relief  to  the  grey,  misty  land- 
scape, which  was  streaked  by  dark  pine-forests,  and  speckled  by  the 
passing  clouds  ;  and  in  the  extreme  distance  rose  a  range  of  hills 
glittering  in  the  evening  sun,  and  scarcely  distinguishable  from  the 
ridge  of  clouds  that  hovered  near  them.  We  did  not  reach  these 
hUls  (on  the  top  of  one  of  which  stands  the  fort  of  Radicofani)  till 
the  end  of  two  days'  journey,  making  a  distance  of  between  fifty  and 
sixty  miles,  so  that  their  miniature  size  and  fairy  splendour,  as  they 
crowned  the  far-off  horizon,  may  be  easily  guessed.  We  did  not 
find  the  accommodation  on  the  road  quite  so  bad  as  we  had  expected. 
The  chief  want  is  of  milk,  which  is  to  be  had  only  in  the  morning ; 
but  we  remedied  this  defect  by  a  taking  a  bottle  of  it  with  us.  The 
weather  was  cold  enough  (in  the  middle  of  March)  to  freeze  it. 
The  economy  of  life  is  here  reduced  to  a  very  great  simplicity, 
absolute  necessaries  from  day  to  day  and  from  hand  to  mouth ;  and 
nothing  is  allowed  for  the  chapter  of  accidents,  or  the  irregular 
intrusion  of  strangers.  The  mechanism  of  English  inns  is  accounted 
for  by  the  certainty  of  the  arrival  of  customers,  with  full  pockets  and 
empty  stomachs.  There  every  road  is  a  thoroughfare ;  here  a 
traveller  is  a  curiosity,  and  we  did  not  meet  ten  carriages  on  our 
journey,  a  distance  of  a  hundred  and  ninety-three  miles,  and  which  it 
took  us  six  days  to  accomplish.  I  may  add  that  we  paid  only  seven 
louis  for  our  two  places  in  the  Voiture  (which,  besides,  we  had 
entirely  to  ourselves)  our  expences  on  the  road  included.  This  is 
cheap  enough. 

227 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

Sienna  is  a  fine  old  town,  but  more  like  a  receptacle  of  the  dead 
than  the  residence  of  the  living.  '  It  was,'  might  be  written  over 
the  entrance  to  this,  as  to  most  of  the  towns  in  Italy.  The 
magnificence  of  the  buildings  corresponds  but  ill  with  the  squalidness 
of  the  inhabitants  ;  there  seems  no  reason  for  crowding  the  streets  so 
close  together  when  there  are  so  few  people  in  them.  There  is  at 
present  no  enemy  without  to  huddle  them  together  within  the  walls, 
whatever  might  have  been  the  case  in  former  times  :  for  miles  you  do 
not  meet  a  human  being,  or  discern  the  traces  of  a  human  dwelling. 
The  view  through  the  noble  arch  of  the  gate  as  you  leave  Sienna  is 
at  once  exquisitely  romantic  and  picturesque :  otherwise,  the  country 
presents  a  most  deplorable  aspect  for  a  length  of  way.  Nature  seems 
to  have  here  taken  it  upon  her  to  play  the  part  of  a  cinder-wench,  and 
to  have  thrown  up  her  incessant  heaps  of  clay  and  ashes,  without 
either  dignity  or  grace.  At  a  distance  to  the  right  and  left,  you  see 
the  stately  remains  of  the  ancient  Etruscan  cities,  cresting  the  heights 
and  built  for  defence ;  and  here  and  there,  perched  on  the  top  of  a 
cliff,  the  ruinous  haunt  of  some  bandit  chief  (the  scourge  of  later 
days),  that  might  be  compared  in  imagination  to  some  dragon,  old 
and  blind,  still  watching  for  its  long-lost  prey,  and  sharing  the 
desolation  it  has  made.  There  are  two  of  these  near  the  wretched 
inn  of  La  Scala,  where  we  stopped  the  third  morning,  rising  in  lonely 
horror  from  the  very  point  of  two  hills,  facing  each  other  and  only 
divided  by  a  brook,  that  baffle  description,  and  require  the  artist's 
boldest  pencil.  Aided  by  the  surrounding  gloom,  and  shrouded  by 
the  driving  mist  (as  they  were  when  we  passed),  they  throw  the 
mind  back  into  a  trance  of  former  times,  and  the  cry  of  midnight 
revelry,  of  midnight  murder  is  heard  from  the  crumbling  walls.  The 
romantic  bridge  and  hamlet  under  them  begins  the  ascent  of  Radico- 
fani.  The  extensive  ruin  at  the  top  meets  your  view  and  disappears 
repeatedly  during  the  long,  winding,  toilsome  ascent.  Over  a 
tremendous  valley  to  the  left,  we  saw  the  distant  hills  of  Perugia, 
covered  with  snow  and  blackened  with  clouds,  and  a  heavy  sleet  was 
falling  around  us.  We  started,  on  being  told  that  the  post-house 
stood  directly  on  the  other  side  of  the  fort  (at  a  height  of  2400  feet 
above  the  level  of  the  sea),  and  that  we  were  to  pass  the  night  there. 
It  was  like  being  lodged  in  a  cloud  :  it  seemed  the  very  rocking- 
cradle  of  storms  and  tempests.  As  we  wound  round  the  road  at  the 
foot  of  it,  we  were  relieved  from  our  apprehensions.  It  was  a 
fortress  built  by  stubborn  violence  for  itself,  that  might  be  said  to 
scowl  defiance  on  the  world  below,  and  to  promise  security  and 
shelter  to  those  within  its  reach.  Huge  heaps  of  round  stones, 
gnarled  like  iron,  and  that  looked  as  if  they  would  break  the  feet 

228 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

that   trusted  themselves  among  them,  were  rolled   into   the   space 
between  the  heights  and  the  road-side.    The  middle  or  principal  turret, 
which  rose  between  the  other  two,  was  thrown  into  momentary  per- 
spective by  the  mist ;  a  fragment  of  an  outer  wall  stood  beneath,  half 
cohered  with  ivy ;    close  to  it  was  an  old  chapel-spire  built  of  red 
brick,  and  a  small  hamlet  crouched  beneath  the   ramparts.      It  re- 
minded me,  by  its  preternatural  strength  and  sullen  aspect,  of  the 
castle  of  Giant  Despair  in  The  Pilgrim's  Progress.     The  dark  and 
stern  spirit  of  former  times  might  be  conceived  to  have  entrenched 
itself  here  as  in  its  last  hold ;   to  have  looked  out  and  laughed  at 
precipices  and  storms,  and  the  puny  assaults  of  hostile  bands,  and 
resting  on  its  red  right  arm,  to  have  wasted  away  through  inaction 
and  disuse  in  its  unapproachable  solitude  and  barbarous   desolation. 
Never  did  I   see  any  thing  so  rugged  and  so  stately,  apparently  so 
formidable  in  a  former  period,  so  forlorn  in  this.     It  was  a  majestic 
shadow  of  the  mighty  past,  suspended  in  another  region,  belonging  to 
another  age.     I  might  take  leave  of  it  in  the  words  of  old  Burnet, 
whose  Latin  glows  among  these  cold  hills.  Vale  augusta  sedei,  digna 
rege  ;   vale  augusta  rupes,   semper  mih'i  memoranda  ! — We  drove  into 
the  inn-yard,  which  resembled  a  barrack  (so  do  most  of  the  inns  on 
the  road),  with  its  bed-rooms  like  hospital- wards,  and  its  large  apart- 
ments  for    assemblages  of  armed    men,   now   empty,   gloomy,    and 
unfiimished  ;  but  where  we  found  a  hospitable  welcome,  and  by  the 
aid  of  a  double  fee  to  the  waiters  every  thing  very  comfortable.     The 
first  object  was  to  procure  milk  for  our  tea  (of  which  last  article  we 
had  brought  some  very  good  from  the  shop  of  Signor  Pippini,  at 
Florence  1)  and  the  next  thing  was  to  lay  in  a  stock  for  the  remaining 
half  of  our  journey.     We  were  not  sorry  to  pass  a  night  at  the  height 
of  2400  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  and  immediately  under  this 
famous   fortress.      The  winds   '  howled  through   the  vacant  guard- 
rooms and  deserted  lobbies '  of  our  hostelry,  and  the  snow  descended 
in  a  heavy  fall,  and  covered  the  valleys  ;  but  Radicofani  looked  the 
same,  as  we  saw  it  through  the  coach-windows  the  next  morning, 
old,  grey,  deserted,  gloomy,  as  if  it  had  survived  '  a  thousand  storms, 
a  thousand  winters ' — the  peasant  still  crawled  along  its  trenches,  the 
traveller  stopped  to  gaze  at   its  battlements — but  neither  spear  nor 
battle-axe  would  glitter  there  again,  nor  banner  be  spread,  nor  the 
clash  of  arms  be  heard  in  the  round  of  ever-rolling  years — it  looked 
back  to  other  times  as  we  looked  back  upon  it,  and  stood  tower- 
ing  in   its   decay,   and  nodding  to  an   eternal   repose !      The   road 
in  this,  as  in  other  parts  of  Italy,  is  evidently  calculated,  and  was 

^  Excellent  tea  is  to  be  had  at  Rome  at  an  Italian  shop  at  the  corner  of  the  Via 
Condotti,  in  the  Piazza  di  Spagna. 

229 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

originally  constructed,  for  the  march  of  an  army.  Instead  of  creeping 
along  the  valleys,  it  passes  along  the  ridges  of  hills  to  prevent  surprise, 
or  watch  the  movements  of  an  enemy,  and  thus  generally  commands 
an  extensive  view  of  the  country,  such  as  it  is.  It  was  long  before 
winding  slowly  into  the  valley,  we  lost  sight  of  our  last  night's  station. 

Aquapendente  is  situated  on  the  brow  of  a  hill,  over  a  running 
stream,  as  its  name  indicates,  and  the  ascent  to  it  is  up  the  side  of  a 
steep  rugged  ravine,  with  overhanging  rocks  and  shrubs.  The 
mixture  of  wildness  and  luxuriance  answered  to  my  idea  of  Italian 
scenery,  but  I  had  seen  little  of  it  hitherto.  The  town  is  old,  dirty, 
and  disagreeable  ;  and  we  were  driven  to  an  inn  in  one  of  the  bye- 
streets,  where  there  was  but  one  sitting-room,  which  was  occupied  by 
an  English  family,  who  were  going  to  leave  it  immediately,  but  who, 
I  suppose,  on  hearing  that  some  one  else  was  waiting  for  it,  claimed 
the  right  of  keeping  it  as  long  as  they  pleased.  The  assertion  of  an 
abstract  right  is  the  idea  uppermost  in  the  minds  of  all  English  people. 
Unfortunately,  when  its  attainment  is  worth  any  thing,  their  spirit  of 
contradiction  makes  them  ready  to  relinquish  it ;  or  when  it  costs 
them  any  thing,  their  spirit  of  self-interest  deters  them  from  the 
pursuit !  After  waiting  some  time,  we  at  last  breakfasted  in  a  sort  of 
kitchen  or  outhouse  upstairs,  where  we  had  very  excellent  but  homely 
fare,  and  where  we  were  amused  with  the  furniture — a  dove-house, 
a  kid,  half-skinned,  hanging  on  the  walls  ;  a  loose  heap  of  macaroni 
and  vegetables  in  one  corner,  plenty  of  smoke,  a  Madonna  carved  and 
painted,  and  a  map  of  Constantinople.  The  pigeons  on  the  floor 
were  busy  with  their  murmuring  plaints,  and  often  fluttered  their 
wings  as  if  to  fly.  So,  thought  I,  the  nations  of  the  earth  clap  their 
wings,  and  strive  in  vain  to  be  free !  The  landlady  was  a  woman 
about  forty,  diminutive  and  sickly,  but  with  one  of  those  pale,  mild, 
penetrating  faces  which  one  seldom  sees  out  of  Italy.  She  was  the 
mother  of  two  buxom  daughters,  as  coarse  and  hard  as  any  thing  of 
the  kind  one  might  meet  with  in  Herefordshire  or  Gloucestershire ! 
The  road  from  Aquapendente  is  of  a  deep  heavy  soil,  over  which  the 
horses  with  difficulty  dragged  the  carriage.  The  view  on  one  side 
was  bounded  by  two  fine  conical  hills  clothed  to  the  very  top  with 
thick  woods  of  beech  and  fir  ;  and  our  route  lay  for  miles  over  an 
undulating  ground  covered  with  the  wild  broom  (growing  to  the  size 
of  a  large  shrub),  among  which  herds  of  slate-coloured  oxen  were  seen 
browzing  luxuriously.  The  broom  floated  above  them,  their  covering 
and  their  food,  with  its  flexible  silken  branches  of  light  green,  and 
presented  an  eastern  scene,  extensive,  soft  and  wild.  We  passed,  I 
think,  but  one  habitation  between  Aquapendente  and  San  Lorenzo, 
and  met  but  one  human  being,  which  was  a  Gend' Armes  !      I  asked 

230 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

our  Vetturino  if  this  dreary  aspect  of  the  country  was  the  effect  of 
natiure  or  of  art.  He  pulled  a  handful  of  earth  from  the  hedge-side, 
and  shewed  a  rich  black  loam,  capable  of  every  improvement.  I 
asked  in  whose  dominions  we  were,  and  received  for  answer,  '  In  the 
Pope's.'  San  Lorenzo  is  a  town  built  on  the  summit  of  a  hill,  in 
consequence  of  the  ravages  of  the  malaria  in  the  old  town,  situated  in 
the  valley  below.  It  looks  like  a  large  alms-house,  or  else  like  a 
town  that  has  run  away  from  the  plague  and  itself,  and  stops  suddenly 
on  the  brow  of  a  hill  to  see  if  the  Devil  is  following  it.  The  ruins 
below  are  the  most  ghastly  I  ever  saw.  The  scattered  fragments  of 
walls  and  houses  are  crumbling  away  like  rotten  bones,  and  there  are 
holes  in  the  walls  and  subterraneous  passages,  in  which  disease,  like 
an  ugly  witch,  seems  to  lurk  and  to  forbid  your  entrance.  Further 
on,  and  winding  round  the  edge  of  the  lake,  you  come  to  Bolsena. 
The  unwholesome  nature  of  the  air  from  the  water  may  be  judged  of 
from  the  colour  of  the  tops  of  the  houses,  the  moss  on  which  is  as 
yellow  as  the  jaundice,  and  the  grass  and  corn-fields  on  its  borders  are 
of  a  tawny  green.  The  road  between  this  and  Monte-Fiascone, 
which  you  see  on  an  eminence  before  you,  lies  through  a  range  of 
gloomy  defiles,  and  is  deformed  by  the  blackened  corses  of  huge  oak- 
trees,  that  strew  the  road-side,  the  unsightly  relics  of  fine  old  woods 
that  were  cut  down  and  half-burnt  a  few  years  ago  as  the  haunts  ot 
bands  of  robbers.  They  plant  morals  in  this  country  by  rooting  up 
trees  !  While  the  country  is  worth  seeing,  it  is  not  safe  to  travel ; 
but  picturesque  beauty  must,  of  course,  give  place  to  the  police.  I 
thought,  when  I  first  saw  these  cadaverous  trunks  lying  by  the  side 
of  the  lake,  that  they  were  the  useless  remains  of  cargoes  of  timber 
that  we  had  purchased  of  the  Holy  See  to  fight  its  battles,  and  maintain 
the  cause  of  social  order  in  every  part  of  the  world  !  Let  no  English 
traveller  stop  at  Monte-Fiascone  (I  mean  at  the  inn  outside  the  town), 
unless  he  would  be  starved  and  smoke-dried,  but  pass  on  to  Viterbo, 
which  is  a  handsome  town,  with  the  best  inn  on  the  road.  You  pass 
one  night  more  on  the  road  in  this  mode  of  travelling  (which  resembles 
walking  a  minuet,  rather  than  striking  up  a  country  dance)  at 
Ronciglione ;  and  the  next  day  from  Baccano,  you  see  rising  up,  in 
a  flat,  hazy  plain,  the  dome  of  St.  Peter's.  You  proceed  for  some  mUes 
along  a  gradual  descent  without  any  object  of  much  interest,  pass  the 
Tiber  and  the  gate  Del  Popolo,  and  you  are  in  Rome.  When  there, 
go  any  where  but  to  Franks's  Hotel,  and  get  a  lodging,  if  possible,  on 
the  Via  Gregoriana,  which  overlooks  the  town,  and  where  you  can 
feast  the  eye  and  indulge  in  sentiment,  without  being  poisoned  by  bad 
air.  The  house  of  Salvator  Rosa  is  at  present  let  out  in  lodgings.  I 
have  now  lived  twice  in  houses  occupied  by  celebrated  men,  once  in 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

a  house  that  had  belonged  to  Milton,  and  now  in  this,  and  find  to  my 
mortification  that  imagination,  is  entirely  a  thing  imaginary,  and  has 
nothing  to  do  with  matter  of  fact,  history,  or  the  senses.  To  see  an 
object  of  thought  or  fancy  is  just  as  impossible  as  to  feel  a  sound  or 
hear  a  smell. 


CHAPTER  XIX 

'  As  London  is  to  the  meanest  country  town,  so  is  Rome  to  every 
other  city  in  the  world.' 

So  said  an  old  friend  of  mine,  and  I  believed  him  till  I  saw  it. 
This  is  not  the  Rome  I  expected  to  see.  No  one  from  being  in  it 
would  know  he  was  in  the  place  that  had  been  twice  mistress  of  the 
world.  I  do  not  understand  how  Nicolas  Poussin  could  tell,  taking 
up  a  handful  of  earth,  that  it  was  '  a  part  of  the  Eternal  City.' 
In  Oxford  an  air  of  learning  breathes  from  the  very  walls  :  halls  and 
colleges  meet  your  eye  in  every  direction  ;  you  cannot  for  a  moment 
forget  where  you  are.  In  London  there  is  a  look  of  wealth  and 
populousness  which  is  to  be  found  nowhere  else.  In  Rome  you  are 
for  the  most  part  lost  in  a  mass  of  tawdry,  fulsome  common-places.  It 
is  not  the  contrast  of  pig-styes  and  palaces  that  I  complain  of,  the 
distinction  between  the  old  and  new ;  what  I  object  to  is  the  want  of 
any  such  striking  contrast,  but  an  almost  uninterrupted  succession  of 
narrow,  vulgar-looking  streets,  where  the  smell  of  garlick  prevails 
over  the  odour  of  antiquity,  with  the  dingy,  melancholy  flat  fronts  of 
modern-built  houses,  that  seem  in  search  of  an  owner.  A  dunghill, 
an  outhouse,  the  weeds  growing  under  an  imperial  arch  offend  me  not ; 
but  what  has  a  green-grocer's  stall,  a  stupid  English  china  warehouse, 
a  putrid  trattoria,  a  barber's  sign,  an  old  clothes  or  old  picture  shop  or 
a  Gothic  palace,  with  two  or  three  lacqueys  in  modern  liveries  loung- 
ing at  the  gate,  to  do  with  ancient  Rome  ?  No  !  this  is  not  the  wall 
that  Romulus  leaped  over  :  this  is  not  the  Capitol  where  Julius  Caesar 
fell  :  instead  of  standing  on  seven  hills,  it  is  situated  in  a  low  valley  : 
the  golden  Tiber  is  a  muddy  stream  :  St.  Peter's  is  not  equal  to 
St.  Paul's  :  the  Vatican  falls  short  of  the  Louvre,  as  it  was  in  my 
time  ;  but  I  thought  that  here  were  works  immoveable,  immortal,  inim- 
itable on  earth,  and  lifting  the  soul  half  way  to  heaven.  I  find  them 
not,  or  only  what  I  had  seen  before  in  different  ways :  the  Stanzas 
of  Raphael  are  faded,  or  no  better  than  the  prints  ;  and  the  mind  of 
Michael  Angelo's  figures,  of  which  no  traces  are  to  be  found  in  the 
copies,  is  equally  absent  from  the  walls  of  the  Sistine  Chapel.  Rome 
is  great  only  in  ruins :   the  Coliseum,  the   Pantheon,   the  Arch   of 

232 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

Constantine  fully  answered  my  expectations ;  and  an  air  breathes 
round  her  stately  avenues,  serene,  blissful,  like  the  mingled  breath  of 
spring  and  winter,  betwixt  life  and  death,  betwixt  hope  and  despair. 
The  country  about  Rome  is  cheerless  and  barren.  There  is  little 
verdure,  nor  are  any  trees  planted,  on  account  of  their  bad  effects  on 
the  air.  Happy  climate  !  in  which  shade  and  sunshine  are  alike  fatal. 
The  Jews  (I  may  add  while  I  think  of  it)  are  shut  up  here  in  a 
quarter  by  themselves.  I  see  no  reason  for  it.  It  is  a  distinction 
not  worth  the  making.  There  was  a  talk  (it  being  Anno  Santo)  of 
shutting  them  up  for  the  whole  of  the  present  year.  A  soldier  stands 
at  the  gate,  to  tell  you  that  this  is  the  Jews'  quarter,  and  to  take  any 
thing  you  choose  to  give  him  for  this  piece  of  Christian  information. 
A  Catholic  church  stands  outside  their  prison,  with  a  Crucifixion 
painted  on  it  as  a  frontispiece,  where  they  are  obliged  to  hear  a  sermon 
in  behalf  of  the  truth  of  the  Christian  religion  every  Good  Friday. 
On  the  same  day  they  used  to  make  them  run  races  in  the  Corso,  for 
the  amusement  of  the  rabble  (high  and  low) — now  they  are  compelled 
to  provide  horses  for  the  same  purpose.  Owing  to  the  politeness  of 
the  age,  they  no  longer  burn  them  as  of  yore,  and  that  is  something. 
Religious  zeal,  like  all  other  things,  grows  old  and  feeble.  They 
treat  the  Jews  in  this  manner  at  Rome  (as  a  local  courtesy  to  St. 
Peter),  and  yet  they  compliment  us  on  our  increasing  liberality  to  the 
Irish  Catholics.  The  Protestant  chapel  here  stands  outside  the  walls, 
while  there  is  a  British  monument  to  the  memory  of  the  Stuarts,  inside 
of  St.  Peter's  ;  the  tombs  in  the  English  burying-ground  were  destroyed 
and  defaced  not  long  ago  ;  yet  this  did  not  prevent  the  Prince  Regent 
from  exchanging  portraits  with  the  Pope  and  his  Ministers! — 'Oh! 
liberalism — lovely  liberalism  !  '  as  Mr.  Blackwood  would  say. 

From  the  window  of  the  house  where  I  lodge,  I  have  a  view  of 
the  whole  city  at  once :  nay,  I  can  see  St.  Peter's  as  I  lie  in  bed  of  a 
morning.  The  town  is  an  immense  mass  of  solid  stone-buildings, 
streets,  palaces,  and  churches ;  but  it  has  not  the  beauty  of  the 
environs  of  Florence,  nor  the  splendid  background  of  Turin,  nor  does 
it  present  any  highly  picturesque  or  commanding  points  of  view  like 
Edinburgh.  The  pleasantest  walks  I  know  are  round  the  Via 
Sistina,  and  along  the  Via  di  Quattro-Fontane— they  overlook  Rome 
from  the  North-East  on  to  the  churches  of  Santa  Maria  Maggiore, 
and  of  St.  John  Lateran,  towards  the  gate  leading  to  Naples.  As 
we  loiter  on,  our  attention  was  caught  by  an  open  greensward  to  the 
left,  with  foot-paths,  and  a  ruined  wall  and  gardens  on  each  side.  A 
carriage  stood  in  the  road  just  by,  and  a  gentleman  and  lady,  with 
a  little  child,  had  got  out  of  it  to  walk.  A  soldier  and  a  girl  were 
seen  talking  together  further  on,  and  a  herd  of  cattle  were  feeding  at 

233 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

their  leisure  on  the  jrielding  turf.  The  day  was  close  and  dry — not 
a  breath  stirred.  All  was  calm  and  silent.  It  had  been  cold  when 
we  set  out,  but  here  the  air  was  soft — of  an  Elysian  temperature,  as 
if  the  winds  did  not  dare  to  visit  the  sanctuaries  of  the  dead  too 
roughly.  The  daisy  sprung  beneath  our  feet — the  fruit-trees  blossomed 
within  the  nodding  arches.  On  one  side  were  seen  the  hills  of  Albano, 
on  the  other  the  Claudian  gate  ;  and  close  by  was  Nero's  Golden 
House,  where  there  were  seventy  thousand  statues  and  pillars,  of 
marble  and  of  silver,  and  where  senates  kneeled,  and  myriads  shouted 
in  honour  of  a  frail  mortal,  as  of  a  God.  Come  here,  oh  man !  and 
worship  thine  own  spirit,  that  can  hoard  up,  as  in  a  shrine,  the 
treasures  of  two  thousand  years,  and  can  create  out  of  the  memory  of 
fallen  splendours  and  departed  grandeur  a  solitude  deeper  than  that  of 
desert  wildernesses,  and  pour  from  the  out-goings  of  thine  own  thoughts 
a  thunder  louder  than  that  of  maddening  multitudes  !  No  place  was 
ever  so  still  as  this ;  for  none  was  ever  the  scene  of  such  pomp  and 
triumph  !  Not  far  from  this  are  the  Baths  of  Titus ;  the  grass  and 
the  poppy  (the  flower  of  oblivion)  grow  over  them,  and  in  the  vaults 
below  they  shew  you  (by  the  help  of  a  torch)  paintings  on  the  ceiling 
eighteen  hundred  years  old,  birds,  and  animals,  a  figure  of  a  slave,  a 
nymph  and  a  huntsman,  fresh  and  elegantly  foreshortened,  and  also 
the  place  where  the  Laocoon  was  discovered.  A  few  paces  off  is 
the  Coliseum,  or  Amphitheatre  of  Titus,  the  noblest  ruin  in  Rome. 
It  is  circular,  built  of  red  stone  and  brick,  with  arched  windows,  and 
the  gillyflower  and  fennel  growing  on  its  walls  to  the  very  top  :  one 
side  is  nearly  perfect.  As  you  pass  under  it,  it  seems  to  raise  itself 
above  you,  and  mingle  with  the  sky  in  its  majestic  simplicity,  as  if 
earth  were  a  thing  too  gross  for  it ;  it  stands  almost  unconscious  of 
decay,  and  may  still  stand  for  ages- — though  Mr.  Hobhouse  has 
written  Annotations  upon  it !  There  is  a  hypocritical  inscription  on 
it,  to  say  that  it  has  been  kept  in  repair  by  the  Popes,  in  order  to 
preserve  the  memory  of  the  martyrs  that  suffered  here  in  cruel 
combats  with  wild  beasts.  As  I  have  alluded  to  this  subject,  I  will 
add  that  I  think  the  finest  stanza  in  Lord  Byron  is  that  where  he 
describes  the  Dying  Gladiator,  who  falls  and  does  not  hear  the  shout 
of  barbarous  triumph  echoing  from  these  very  walls : — 

'  He  hears  it  not ;  his  thoughts  are  far  away. 
Where  his  rude  hut  beside  the  Danube  lay ; 
There  are  his  young  barbarians,  all  at  play, 
They  and  their  Dacian  mother ;  he  their  sire 
Is  doom'd  to  make  a  Roman  holiday. 
When  will  ye  rise,  ye  Goths  ?  awake  and  glut  your  ire  ! ' 

Childe  Harold. 
234 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

The  temple  of  Vesta  is  on  the  Tiber.     It  is  not  unlike  an  hour- 
glass— or  a  toad-stool ;  it  is  small,  but  exceedingly  beautiful,  and  has 
a  look  of  great  antiquity.     The  Pantheon  is  also  as  fine  as  possible. 
It  has  the  most  perfect  unity  of  effect.     It  was   hardly  a   proper 
receptacle  for  the  Gods  of  the  Heathens,  for  it  has  a  simplicity  and 
grandeur  like  the  vaulted   cope  of  Heaven.     Compared  with  these 
admired  remains  of  former  times  I  must  say  that  the  more  modern 
churches  and  palaces  in  Rome  are  poor,  flashy,  up-start  looking  things. 
Even  the  dome  of  St.  Peter's  is  for  the  most  part  hid  by  the  front, 
and  the  Vatican  has  no  business  by  its  side.     The  sculptures  there  are 
also  indifferent,  and  the  mosaics,  except  two — the  Transfiguration 
and  St.  Jerome,  ill  chosen.     I  was  lucky  enough  to  see  the  Pope 
here  on  Easter  Sunday.     He  seems  a  harmless,  infirm,  fretful  old 
man.     I  confess  I  should  feel  little  ambition  to  be  at  the  head  of  a 
procession,  at  which  the  ignorant  stare,  the  better  informed  smile. 
I  was  also  lucky  enough  to  see  St.  Peter's  illuminated  to  the  very 
top  (a  project  of  Michael  Angelo's)  in  the  evening.     It  was  finest 
at  first,  as  the  kindled  lights  blended  with  the  fading  twilight.     It 
seemed  doubtful  whether  it  were  an  artificial  illumination,  the  work 
of  carpenters  and  torch-bearers,  or  the  reflection  of  an  invisible  sun. 
One  half  of  the  cross  shone  with  the  richest  gold,  and  rows  of  lamps 
gave  light  as  from  a  sky.     At  length  a  shower  of  fairy  lights  burst 
out  at  a  signal  in  all  directions,  and  covered  the  whole  building. 
It  looked  better   at   a  distance  than  when  we  went  nearer  it.     It 
continued  blazing  all  night.     What  an  effect  it  must  have  upon  the 
country  round !      Now  and  then  a  life  or  so  is  lost  in  lighting  up  the 
huge  fabric,  but  what  is  this  to  the  glory  of  the  church  and  the  salva- 
tion of  souls,  to  which  it  no  doubt  tends  ?    I  can  easily  conceive  some 
of  the  wild  groups  that  I  saw  in  the  streets  the  following  day  to  have 
been  led  by  delight  and  wonder  from  their  mountain-haunts,  or  even 
from  the  bandits'  cave,  to  worship  at  this  new  starry  glory,  rising 
from  the  earth.     The  whole  of  the  immense  space  before  St.  Peter's 
was  in  the  afternoon  crowded  with  people  to  see  the  Pope  give  his 
benediction.      The  rich  dresses  of  the  country  people,  the  strong 
features  and  orderly  behaviour  of  all,  gave  this  assemblage  a  decided 
superiority  over  any  thing  of  the  kind  I  had  seen  in  England.     I  did 
not  hear  the  Miserere  which  is  chaunted  by  the  Priests,  and  sung  by 
a  single  voice  (I  understand  like  an  angel's)  in  a  dim  religious  light 
in  the  Sistine  Chapel ;  nor  did  I  see  the  exhibition  of  the  relics,  at 
which  I  was  told  all  the  beauty  of  Rome  was  present.     It  is  some- 
thing even  to  miss  such  things.     After  all,  St.  Peter's  does  not  seem 
to  me  the  chief  boast  or  most  imposing  display  of  the  Catholic 
religion.     Old  Melrose  Abbey,  battered  to  pieces  and  in  ruins,  as 

235 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

it  is,  impresses  me  much  more  than  the  collective  pride  and  pomp  of 
Michael  Angelo's  great  work.  Popery  is  here  at  home,  and  may 
strut  and  swell  and  deck  itself  out  as  it  pleases,  on  the  spot  and  for 
the  occasion.  It  is  the  pageant  of  an  hour.  But  to  stretch  out  its 
arm  fifteen  hundred  miles,  to  create  a  voice  in  the  wilderness,  to  have 
left  its  monuments  standing  by  the  Teviot-side,  or  to  send  the  mid- 
night hymn  through  the  shades  of  Vallombrosa,  or  to  make  it  echo 
among  Alpine  solitudes,  that  is  faith,  and  that  is  power.  The  rest  is 
a  puppet-shew !  I  am  no  admirer  of  Pontificals,  but  I  am  a  slave  to 
the  picturesque.  The  Priests  talking  together  in  St.  Peter's,  or  the 
common  people  kneeling  at  the  altars,  make  groups  that  shame  all  art. 
The  inhabitants  of  the  city  have  something  French  about  them — 
something  of  the  cook's  and  the  milliner's  shop — something  pert, 
gross,  and  cunning  ;  but  the  Roman  peasants  redeem  the  credit  of 
their  golden  sky.  The  young  women  that  come  here  from  Gensano 
and  Albano,  and  that  are  known  by  their  scarlet  boddices  and  white 
head-dresses  and  handsome  good-humoured  faces,  are  the  finest 
specimens  I  have  ever  seen  of  human  nature.  They  are  like 
creatures  that  have  breathed  the  air  of  Heaven,  till  the  sun  has 
ripened  them  into  perfect  beauty,  health,  and  goodness.  They  are 
universally  admired  in  Rome.  The  English  women  that  you  see, 
though  pretty,  are  pieces  of  dough  to  them.  Little  troops  and 
whole  families,  men,  women,  and  children,  from  the  Campagna  and 
neighbouring  districts  of  Rome,  throng  the  streets  during  Easter 
and  Lent,  who  come  to  visit  the  shrine  of  some  favourite  Saint, 
repeating  their  Aves  aloud,  and  telling  their  beads  with  all  the 
earnestness  imaginable.  Popery  is  no  farce  to  them.  They  surely 
think  St.  Peter's  is  the  way  to  Heaven.  You  even  see  priests 
counting  their  beads,  and  looking  grave.  If  they  can  contrive  to 
get  possession  of  this  world  for  themselves,  and  give  the  laity  the 
reversion  of  the  next,  were  it  only  in  imagination,  something  is 
to  be  said  for  the  exchange.  I  only  hate  half-way  houses  in  religion 
or  politics,  that  take  from  us  all  the  benefits  of  ignorance  and  super- 
stition, and  give  us  none  of  the  advantages  of  liberty  or  philosophy 
in  return.  Thus  I  hate  Princes  who  usurp  the  thrones  of  others, 
and  would  almost  give  them  back,  sooner  than  allow  the  rights  of 
the  people.  Once  more,  how  does  that  monument  to  the  Stuarts 
happen  to  be  stuck  up  in  the  side-aisle  of  St.  Peter's  ?  I  would 
ask  the  person  who  placed  it  there,  how  many  Georges  there  have 
been  since  James  in.  ?  His  ancestor  makes  but  an  ambiguous  figure 
beside  the  posthumous  group — 

'  So  sit  two  Kings  of  Brentford  on  one  throne  ! ' 
236 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

The  only  thing  unpleasant  in  the  motley  assemblage  of  persons  at 
Rome,  is  the  number  of  pilgrims  with  their  greasy  oil-skin  cloaks. 
They  are  a  dirty,  disgusting  set,  with  a  look  of  sturdy  hypocrisy 
about  them.  The  Pope  [pro  forma)  washes  their  feet ;  the  Nuns, 
when  they  come,  have  even  a  less  delicate  office  to  perform.  Religion, 
in  the  depth  of  its  humility,  ought  not  to  forget  decorum.  But  I  am 
a  traveller,  and  not  a  reformer. 

The  picture-galleries  in  Rome  disappointed  me  quite.  I  was  told 
there  were  a  dozen  at  least,  equal  to  the  Louvre ;  there  is  not  one. 
I  shall  not  dwell  long  upon  them,  for  they  gave  me  little  pleasure. 
At  the  Ruspigliosi  Palace  (near  the  Monte  Cavallo,  where  are  the 
famous  Colossal  groups,  said  to  be  by  Phidias  and  Praxiteles,  of  one 
of  which  we  have  a  cast  in  Hyde  Park)  are  the  Aurora  and  the 
Andromeda,  by  Guido.  The  first  is  a  most  splendid  composition 
(like  the  Daughter  of  the  Dawn)  but  painted  in  fresco ;  and  the 
artist  has,  in  my  mind,  failed  through  want  of  practice  in  the  grace 
and  colouring  of  most  of  the  figures.  They  are  a  clumsy,  gloomy- 
looking  set,  and  not  like  Guido's  females.  The  Andromeda  has  all 
the  charm  and  sweetness  of  his  pencil,  in  its  pearly  tones,  its  graceful 
timid  action,  and  its  lovely  expression  of  gentleness  and  terror.  The 
face,  every  part  of  the  figure,  has  a  beauty  and  softness  not  to  be 
described.  This  one  figure  is  worth  all  the  other  group,  and  the 
ApoUo,  the  horses  and  the  azure  sea  to  boot.  People  talk  of  the 
insipidity  of  Guido.  Oh  !  let  me  drink  long,  repeated,  relishing 
draughts  of  such  insipidity !  If  delicacy,  beauty,  and  grace  are 
insipidity,  I  too  profess  myself  an  idolizer  of  insipidity :  I  will 
venture  one  assertion,  which  is,  that  no  other  painter  has  expressed 
the  female  character  so  well,  so  truly,  so  entirely  in  its  fragile, 
lovely  essence,  neither  Raphael,  nor  Titian,  nor  Correggio ;  and, 
after  these,  it  is  needless  to  mention  any  more.  Raphael's  women 
are  Saints  ;  Titian's  are  courtesans  ;  Correggio's  an  affected  mixture 
of  both  ;  Guido's  are  the  true  heroines  of  romance,  the  brides  of  the 
fancy,  such  as  '  youthful  poets  dream  of  when  they  love,'  or  as  a 
Clarissa,  a  Julia  de  Roubigne,  or  a  Miss  Milner  would  turn  out 
be !  They  are  not  only  angels,  but  young  ladies  into  the  barg: 
which  is  more  than  can  be  said  for  any  of  the  others,  and  yet 
something  to  say.  Vandyke  sometimes  gave  this  effect  in  portrait, 
but  his  historical  figures  are  fanciful  and  sprawling.  Under  the 
Andromeda  is  a  portrait  by  Nicholas  Poussin  of  himself  (a  dupHcate 
of  that  in  the  Louvre),  and  an  infant  Cupid  or  Bacchus,  by  the  same 
artist,  finely  coloured,  and  executed  in  the  manner  of  Titian.  There 
is  in  another  room  an  unmeaning  picture,  by  Annibal  Caracci,  of 
Samson  pulling  down  the  temple  of  the  Philistines,  and  also  a  fine 

237 


as  a 
It  to  ) 
?ain,/ 
it  i/ 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

dead  Christ  by  him ;  add  to  these  a  Diana  and  Endymion  by 
Guercino,  in  which  the  real  sentiment  of  the  story  is  thrown  into 
the  landscape  and  figures.  The  Ruspigliosi  Pavilion,  containing 
these  and  some  inferior  pictures,  is  situated  near  the  remains  of 
Constantine's  Bath  in  a  small  raised  garden  or  terrace,  in  which 
the  early  violets  and  hyacinths  blossom  amidst  broken  cisterns  and 
defaced  statues.  It  is  a  pretty  picture  ;  art  decays,  but  nature  still 
survives  through  all  changes.  At  the  Doria  Palace,  there  is  nothing 
remarkable  but  the  two  Claudes,  and  these  are  much  injured  in  colour. 
The  trees  are  black,  and  the  water  looks  like  lead.  There  are 
several  Garofolos,  which  are  held  in  esteem  here  (not  unjustly)  and 
one  fine  head  by  Titian.  The  Velasquez  (Innocent  x. ),  so  much 
esteemed  by  Sir  Joshua,  is  a  spirited  sketch.  The  Borghese  Palace 
has  three  fine  pictures,  and  only  three — the  Diana  and  Actseon  of 
Domenichino  ;  the  Taking  down  from  the  Cross,  by  Raphael ;  and 
Titian's  Sacred  and  Profane  Love.  This  last  picture  has  a  peculiar 
and  inexpressible  charm  about  it.  It  is  something  between  portrait 
and  allegory,  a  mixture  of  history  and  landscape,  simple  and  yet 
quaint,  fantastical  yet  without  meaning  to  be  so,  but  as  if  a  sudden 
thought  had  struck  the  painter,  and  he  could  not  help  attempting  to 
execute  it  out  of  curiosity,  and  finishing  it  from  the  delight  it  gave 
him.  It  is  full  of  sweetness  and  solemnity.  The  Diana  of  Domeni- 
chino is  just  the  reverse  of  it.  Every  thing  here  is  arranged  methodi- 
cally, and  is  the  effect  of  study  and  forethought.  Domenichino  was 
a  painter  of  sense,  feeling,  and  taste  ;  but  his  pencil  was  meagre,  and 
his  imagination  dispirited  and  impoverished.  In  Titian,  the  execution 
surpassed  the  design,  and  the  force  of  his  hand  and  eye,  as  he  went 
on,  enriched  the  most  indifferent  outline :  in  Domenichino,  the  filling 
up  fell  short  of  the  conception  and  of  his  own  wishes.  He  was  a 
man  of  great  modesty  and  merit ;  and  when  others  expressed  an 
admiration  of  his  talents,  they  were  obliged  to  reckon  up  a  number 
of  his  chef-d' awures  to  convince  him  that  they  were  in  earnest.  He 
could  hardly  believe  that  any  one  else  thought  much  of  his  works, 
when  he  thought  so  little  of  them  himself.  Raphael's  Taking  down 
from  the  Cross  is  in  his  early  manner,  and  the  outlines  of  the  limbs 
are  like  the  edges  of  plates  of  tin ;  but  it  has  what  was  inseparable 
from  his  productions,  first  and  last,  pregnant  expression  and  careful 
drawing.  I  ought  to  mention  that  there  is,  by  the  same  master-hand, 
a  splendid  portrait  of  Caesar  Borgia,  which  is  an  addition  to  my  list. 
The  complexion  is  a  strange  mixture  of  orange  and  purple.  The 
hair  of  his  sister,  Lucretia  Borgia  (the  friend  and  mistress  of  Cardinal 
Bembo)  is  still  preserved  in  Italy,  and  a  lock  of  it  was  in  the  posses- 
sion of  Lord  Byron.  I  lately  saw  it  in  company  with  that  of  Milton 
238 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

and  of  Bonaparte,  looking  calm,  golden,  beautiful,  a  smiling  trophy 
from  the  grave !  The  number  and  progressive  improvement  of 
Raphael's  works  in  Italy  is  striking.  It  might  teach  our  holiday 
artists  that  to  do  well  is  to  do  much.  Excellence  springs  up  behind 
us,  not  before  us ;  and  is  the  result  of  what  we  have  done,  not  of 
what  we  intend  to  do.  Many  artists  (especially  those  abroad,  who 
are  distracted  with  a  variety  of  styles  and  models)  never  advance 
beyond  the  contemplation  of  some  great  work,  and  think  to  lay  in  an 
unexampled  store  of  accomplishments,  before  they  commence  any 
undertaking.  That  is  where  they  ought  to  end ;  to  begin  with  it  is 
too  much.  It  is  as  if  the  foundation-stone  should  form  the  cupola  of 
St.  Peter's.  Great  works  are  the  result  of  much  labour  and  of  many 
failures,  and  not  of  pompous  pretensions  and  fastidious  delicacy. 

The  Corsini  pictures  are  another  large  and  very  indifferent  collec- 
tion. All  I  can  recollect  worth  mentioning  are,  a  very  sweet  and 
silvery-toned  Herodias,  by  Guido ;  a  fine  landscape,  by  Caspar 
Poussin ;  an  excellent  sketch  from  Ariosto  of  the  Giant  Orgagna ; 
and  the  Plague  of  Milan  by  a  modern  artist,  a  work  of  great  inven- 
tion and  judgment,  and  in  which  the  details  of  the  subject  are  so 
managed  as  to  affect,  and  not  to  shock.  The  Campidoglio  collection 
is  better.  There  is  a  large  and  admirable  Guercino,  an  airy  and 
richly-coloured  Guido,  some  capital  little  Garofolos,  a  beautiful  copy 
of  a  Repose  of  Titian's  by  Pietro  da  Cortona,  several  Giorgiones, 
and  a  number  of  antique  busts  of  the  most  interesting  description. 
Here  is  the  bronze  She- Wolf  that  suckled  Romulus  and  Remus,  and 
the  Geese  that  cackled  in  the  Capitol.  I  find  nothing  so  delightful 
as  these  old  Roman  heads  of  Senators,  Warriors,  Philosophers. 
They  have  all  the  freshness  of  truth  and  nature.  They  shew  some- 
thing substantial  in  mortality.  They  are  the  only  things  that  do  not 
crush  and  overturn  our  sense  of  personal  identity ;  and  are  a  fine 
relief  to  the  mouldering  relics  of  antiquity,  and  to  the  momentary 
littleness  of  modern  things  !  The  little  Farnese  contains  the  Galatea 
and  the  Cupid  and  Psyche.  If  any  thing  could  have  raised  my  idea 
of  Raphael  higher,  it  would  have  been  some  of  these  frescoes.  I 
would  mention  the  group  of  the  Graces  in  particular  ;  they  are  true 
Goddesses.  The  fine  flowing  outline  of  the  limbs,  the  variety  of 
attitudes,  the  unconscious  grace,  the  charming  unaffected  glow  of  the 
expression,  are  inimitable.  Raphael  never  perhaps  escaped  so  com- 
pletely from  the  trammels  of  his  first  manner,  as  in  this  noble  series 
of  designs.  The  Galatea  has  been  injured  in  colour  by  the  stoves 
which  the  Germans,  who  were  quartered  there,  lighted  in  the  apart- 
ment. In  the  same  room  is  the  famous  chalk  head,  said  to  have 
been  sketched   upon   the  wall   by  Michael  Angelo.      The  story  is 

239 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

probably  a  fabrication ;  the  head  is  as  coarse  and  roechanical  as  any 
thing  can  be.  Raphael's  Loggia  in  the  corridors  of  the  Vatican 
(the  subjects  of  what  is  called  his  Bible)  appear  to  me  divine  in 
form,  relief,  conception — above  all,  the  figure  of  Eve  at  the  forbidden 
tree ;  his  Stanzas  there  appear  to  me  divine,  more  particularly  the 
Heliodorus,  the  School  of  Athens,  and  the  Miracle  of  Bolseno,  with 
all  the  truth  and  force  of  character  of  Titian's  portraits  (I  see 
nothing,  however,  of  his  colouring)  and  his  own  purity,  sweetness, 
and  lofty  invention,  added  to  them.  His  oil  pictures  there  are 
divine.  The  Transfiguration  is  a  wonderful  collection  of  fine  heads 
and  figures  :  their  fault  is,  that  they  are  too  detached  and  bare,  but 
it  is  not  true  that  it  embraces  two  distinct  points  of  time.  The 
event  below  is  going  on  in  the  Gospel  account,  at  the  same  time  with 
the  miracle  of  the  Transfiguration  above.  But  I  almost  prefer  to 
this  the  Foligno  picture :  the  child  with  the  casket  below  is  of  all 
things  the  most  Raphaelesque,  for  the  sweetness  of  expression,  and 
the  rich  pulpy  texture  of  the  flesh  ;  and  perhaps  I  prefer  even  to  this 
the  Crowning  of  the  Virgin,  with  that  pure  dignified  figure  of  the 
Madonna  sitting  in  the  clouds,  and  that  wonderous  emanation  of 
sentiment  in  the  crowd  below,  near  the  vase  of  flowers,  all  whose 
faces  are  bathed  in  one  feeling  of  ecstatic  devotion,  as  the  stream 
of  inspiration  flows  over  them.  There  is  a  singular  effect  of  colour- 
ing in  the  lower  part  of  this  picture,  as  if  it  were  painted  on  slate, 
and  from  this  cold  chilly  ground  the  glow  of  sentiment  comes  out 
perhaps  the  more  strong  and  effectual.  In  the  same  suite  of  apart- 
ments (accessible  to  students  and  copyists)  are  the  Death  of  St. 
Jerome,  by  Domenichino ;  and  the  Vision  of  St.  Romuald,  by 
Andrea  Sacchi,  the  last  of  the  Italian  painters.  Five  nobler  or 
more  impressive  pictures  are  not  in  the  world.  A  single  figure  of 
St.  Michelle  (as  a  pilgrim  among  the  Alps)  is  a  pure  rich  offering  of 
the  pencil  to  legendary  devotion,  and  remarkable  for  the  simplicity  of 
the  colouring,  sweetness  of  the  expression,  and  the  gloomy  splendour 
of  the  background.  There  are  no  others  equally  good.  The  Vatican 
contains  numberless  fine  statues  and  other  remains  of  antiquity,  elegant 
and  curious.  The  Apollo  I  do  not  admire,  but  the  Laocoon  appears 
to  me  admirable,  for  the  workmanship,  for  the  muscular  contortions 
of  the  father's  figure,  and  the  divine  expression  of  the  sentiment  of 
pain  and  terror  in  the  children.  They  are,  however,  rather  small 
than  young.  Canova's  figures  here  seem  to  me  the  work  of  an 
accomplished  sculptor,  but  not  of  a  great  man.  Michael  Angelo's 
figures  of  Day  and  Night,  at  the  Chapel  of  St.  Lorenzo  at  Florence, 
are  those  of  a  great  man ;  whether  of  a  perfect  sculptor  or  not,  I 
will  not  pretend  to  say.  The  neck  of  the  Night  is  curved  like  the 
240 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

horse's,  the  limbs  have  the  involution  of  serpents.  These  two  figures 
and  his  transporting  the  Pantheon  to  the  top  of  St.  Peter's,  have 
settled  my  wavering  idea  of  this  mighty  genius,  which  his  David  and 
early  works  at  Florence  had  staggered.  His  Adam  receiving  life 
from  his  Creator,  in  the  Sistine  Chapel,  for  boldness  and  freedom, 
is  more  like  the  Elgin  Theseus  than  any  other  figure  I  have  seen. 
The  Jeremiah  in  the  same  ceiling  droops  and  bows  the  head  like 
a  willow-tree  surcharged  with  showers.  Whether  there  are  any 
faces  worthy  of  these  noble  figures  I  have  not  been  near  enough  to 
see.  Those  near  the  bottom  of  the  Last  Judgment  are  hideous, 
vulgar  caricatures  of  demons  and  cardinals,  and  the  whole  is  a  mass 
of  extravagance  and  confusion.  I  shall  endeavour  to  get  a  nearer 
view  of  the  Prophets  and  Sybils  in  the  Capella  Sistina.  And  if  I 
can  discover  an  expression  and  character  of  thought  in  them  equal 
to  their  grandeur  of  form,  I  shall  not  be  slow  to  acknowledge  it. 
Michael  Angelo  is  one  of  those  names  that  cannot  be  shaken  without 
pulling  down  Fame  itself.  The  Vatican  is  rich  in  pictures,  statuary, 
tapestry,  gardens,  and  in  the  views  from  it ;  but  its  immense  size  is 
divided  into  too  many  long  and  narrow  compartments,  and  it  wants 
the  unity  of  effect  and  imposing  gravity  of  the  Louvre. 


CHAPTER    XX 

There  are  two  things  that  an  Englishman  understands,  hard  words 
and  hard  blows.  Nothing  short  of  this  (generally  speaking)  excites 
his  attention  or  interests  him  in  the  least.  His  neighbours  have  the 
benefit  of  the  one  in  war  time,  and  his  own  countrymen  of  the  other 
in  time  of  peace.  The  French  express  themselves  astonished  at  the 
feats  which  our  Jack  Tars  have  so  often  performed.  A  fellow  in 
that  class  of  life  in  England  will  strike  his  hand  through  a  deal  board 
— first,  to  shew  his  strength,  which  he  is  proud  of;  secondly,  to  give 
him  a  sensation,  which  he  is  in  want  of;  lastly  to  prove  his  powers 
of  endurance,  which  he  also  makes  a  boast  of.  So  qualified,  a  con- 
troversy with  a  cannon-ball  is  not  much  out  of  his  way :  a  thirty-two 
pounder  is  rather  an  ugly  customer,  but  it  presents  him  with  a  tangible 
idea  (a  thing  he  is  always  in  search  of) — and,  should  it  take  off  his 
head  or  carry  away  one  of  his  limbs,  he  does  not  feel  the  want  of  the 
one  or  care  for  that  of  the  other.  Naturally  obtuse,  his  feelings 
become  hardened  by  custom  ;  or  if  there  are  any  qualms  of  repugnance 
or  dismay  left,  a  volley  of  oaths,  a  few  coarse  jests,  and  a  double 
allowance  of  grog  soon  turn  the  affair  into  a  pastime.  Stung  with 
VOL.  IX. :  Q  241 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

wounds,  stunned  with  bruises,  bleeding  and  mangled,  an  English 
sailor  never  finds  himself  so  much  alive  as  when  he  is  flung  half  dead 
into  the  cockpit ;  for  he  then  perceives  the  extreme  consciousness  of 
his  existence  in  his  conflict  with  external  matter,  in  the  violence  of 
his  will,  and  his  obstinate  contempt  for  suffering.  He  feels  his 
personal  identity  on  the  side  of  the  disagreeable  and  repulsive  ;  and  it 
is  better  to  feel  it  so  than  to  be  a  stock  or  a  stone,  which  is  his 
ordinary  state.  Pain  puts  life  into  him ;  action,  soul :  otherwise, 
he  is  a  mere  log.  The  English  are  not  like  a  nation  of  women. 
They  are  not  thin-skinned,  nervous,  or  effeminate,  but  dull  and 
morbid :  they  look  danger  and  difliculty  in  the  face,  and  shake  hands 
with  death  as  with  a  brother.  They  do  not  hold  up  their  heads,  but 
they  will  turn  their  backs  on  no  man  :  they  delight  in  doing  and  in 
bearing  more  than  others :  what  every  one  else  shrinks  from  through 
aversion  to  labour  or  pain,  they  are  attracted  to,  and  go  through  with, 
and  so  far  (and  so  far  only)  they  are  a  great  people.  At  least,  it 
cannot  be  denied  that  they  are  a  pugnacious  set.  Their  heads  are  so 
full  of  this,  that  if  a  Frenchman  speaks  of  Scribe,  the  celebrated 
farce-writer,  a  young  Englishman  present  will  suppose  he  means  Cribb 
the  boxer ;  and  ten  thousand  people  assembled  at  a  prize-fight  wiU 
witness  an  exhibition  of  pugilism  with  the  same  breathless  attention 
and  delight  as  the  audience  at  the  Theatre  Frangais  listen  to  the 
dialogue  of  Racine  or  MoliSre.  Assuredly,  we  do  not  pay  the  same 
attention  to  Shakspeare :  but  at  a  boxing-match  every  Englishman 
feels  his  power  to  give  and  take  blows  increased  by  sympathy,  as  at  a 
French  theatre  every  spectator  fancies  that  the  actors  on  the  stage 
talk,  laugh,  and  make  love  as  he  would.  A  metaphysician  might  say, 
that  the  English  perceive  objects  chiefly  by  their  mere  material 
qualities  of  solidity,  inertness,  and  impenetrability,  or  by  their  own 
muscular  resistance  to  them ;  that  they  do  not  care  about  the  colour, 
taste,  smell,  the  sense  of  luxury  or  pleasure  : — they  require  the  heavy, 
hard,  and  tangible  only,  something  for  them  to  grapple  with  and 
resist,  to  try  their  strength  and  their  unimpressibility  upon.  They  do 
not  like  to  smell  to  a  rose,  or  to  taste  of  made-dishes,  or  to  listen  to 
soft  music,  or  to  look  at  fine  pictures,  or  to  make  or  hear  fine  speeches, 
or  to  enjoy  themselves  or  amuse  others ;  but  they  will  knock  any  man 
down  who  tells  them  so,  and  their  sole  delight  is  to  be  as  uncom- 
fortable and  disagreeable  as  possible.  To  them  the  greatest  labour  is 
to  be  pleased :  they  hate  to  have  nothing  to  find  fault  with  :  to  expect 
them  to  smile  or  to  converse  on  equal  terms,  is  the  heaviest  tax  you 
can  levy  on  their  want  of  animal  spirits  or  intellectual  resources.  A 
drop  of  pleasure  is  the  most  difficult  thing  to  extract  from  their  hard, 
dry,  mechanical,  husky  frame ;  a  civil  word  or  look  is  the  last  thing 
242 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

they  can  part  with.  Hence  the  matter-of-factness  of  their  under- 
standings, their  tenaciousness  of  reason  or  prejudice,  their  slowness  to 
distinguish,  their  backwardness  to  yield,  their  mechanical  improve- 
ments, their  industry,  their  courage,  their  blunt  honesty,  their  dislike 
to  the  frivolous  and  florid,  their  love  of  liberty  out  of  hatred  to 
oppression,  and  their  love  of  virtue  from  their  antipathy  to  vice. 
Hence  also  their  philosophy,  from  their  distrust  of  appearances  and 
unwillingness  to  be  imposed  upon ;  and  even  their  poetry  has  its 
probable  source  in  the  same  repining,  discontented  humour,  which 
flings  them  from  cross-grained  realities  into  the  region  of  lofty  and 
eager  imaginations.^ — A  French  gentleman,  a  man  of  sense  and  wit, 
expressed  his  wonder  that  all  the  English  did  not  go  and  live  in  the 
South  of  France,  where  they  would  have  a  beautiful  country,  a  fine 
climate,  and  every  comfort  almost  for  nothing.  He  did  not  perceive 
that  they  would  go  back  in  shoals  from  this  scene  of  fancied  con- 
tentment to  their  fogs  and  sea-coal  fires,  and  that  no  Englishman  can 
live  without  something  to  complain  of.  Some  persons  are  sorry  to 
see  our  countrymen  abroad  cheated,  laughed  at,  quarrelling  at  all  the 
inns  they  stop  at: — while  they  are  in  hot  ivater,  while  they  think 
themselves  ill-used  and  have  but  the  spirit  to  resent  it,  they  are  happy. 
As  long  as  they  can  swear,  they  are  excused  from  being  com- 
plimentary :  if  they  have  to  fight,  they  need  not  think :  while  they 
are  provoked  beyond  measure,  they  are  released  from  the  dreadful 
obligation  of  being  pleased.  Leave  them  to  themselves,  and  they  are 
dull :  introduce  them  into  company,  and  they  are  worse.  It  is  the 
incapacity  of  enjoyment  that  makes  them  sullen  and  ridiculous ;  the 
mortification  they  feel  at  not  having  their  own  way  in  everything,  and 
at  seeing  others  delighted  without  asking  their  leave,  that  makes  them 
haughty  and  distant.  An  Englishman  is  silent  abroad  from  having 
nothing  to  say ;  and  he  looks  stupid,  because  he  is  so.  It  is  kind 
words  and  graceful  acts  that  afflict  his  soul — an  appearance  of 
happiness,  which  he  suspects  to  be  insincere  because  he  cannot  enter 
into  it,  and  a  flow  of  animal  spirits  which  dejects  him  the  more  from 

^  We  have  five  names  unrivalled  in  modern  times  and  in  their  different  ways  : 
— Newton,  Locke,  Bacon,  Shakspeare,  and  Milton — and  if  to  these  we  were  to  add 
a  sixth  that  could  not  be  questioned  in  his  line,  perhaps  it  would  be  Hogarth.  Our 
wit  is  the  eiTect  not  of  gaiety,  but  spleen — the  last  result  of  a  pertinacious  reductio 
ad  abmrdum.  Our  greatest  wits  have  been  our  gravest  men.  Fielding  seems  to 
have  produced  his  History  of  a  Foundling  with  the  same  deliberation  and  forethought 
that  Arkwright  did  his  spinning-jenny.  The  French  have  no  poetry  ;  that  is,  no 
combination  of  internal  feeling  with  external  imagery.  Their  dramatic  dialogue  is 
frothy  verbiage  or  a  mucilage  of  sentiment  without  natural  bones  or  substance  : 
ours  constantly  clings  to  the  concrete,  and  has  a  purchase  upon  matter.  Outward 
objects  interfere  with  and  extinguish  the  flame  of  their  imagination  ;  with  us  they 
are  the  fuel  that  kindle  it  into  a  brighter  and  stronger  blaze, 

243 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

making  him  feel  the  want  of  it  in  himself;  pictures  that  he  does  not 
understand,  music  that  he  does  not  feel,  love  that  he  cannot  make, 
suns  that  shine  out  of  England,  and  smiles  more  radiant  than  they ! 
Do  not  stifle  him  with  roses :  do  not  kill  him  with  kindness :  leave 
him  some  pretext  to  grumble,  to  fret,  and  torment  himself.  Point  at 
him  as  he  drives  an  English  mail-coach  about  the  streets  of  Paris  or 
of  Rome,  to  relieve  his  despair  of  eclat  by  affording  him  a  pretence 
to  horsewhip  some  one.  Be  disagreeable,  surly,  lying,  knavish, 
impertinent  out  of  compassion  ;  insult,  rob  him,  and  he  will  thank 
you;  take  any  thing  from  him  (nay  even  his  life)  sooner  than  his 
opinion  of  himself  and  his  prejudices  against  others,  his  moody 
dissatisfaction  and  his  contempt  for  every  one  who  is  not  in  as  ill  a 
humour  as  he  is. 

John  Bull  is  certainly  a  singular  animal.  It  is  the  being  the  beast 
he  J3  that  has  made  a  man  of  him.  If  he  do  not  take  care  what  he  is 
about,  the  same  ungoverned  humour  will  be  his  ruin.  He  must  have 
something  to  butt  at ;  and  it  matters  little  to  him  whether  it  be  friend 
or  foe,  provided  only  he  can  run-a-muck.  He  must  have  a  grievance 
to  solace  him,  a  bug-bear  of  some  sort  or  other  to  keep  himself  in 
breath  :  otherwise,  he  droops  and  hangs  the  head — he  is  no  longer 
John  Bull,  but  John  Ox,  according  to  a  happy  allusion  of  the  Poet- 
Laureate's.  This  necessity  of  John's  to  be  repulsive  (right  or  wrong) 
has  been  lately  turned  against  himself,  to  the  detriment  of  others,  and 
his  proper  cost.  Formerly,  the  Pope,  the  Devil,  the  Inquisition,  and 
the  Bourbons,  served  the  turn,  with  all  of  whom  he  is  at  present 
sworn  friends,  unless  Mr.  Canning  should  throw  out  a  tub  to  a  nxihale 
in  South  America :  then  Bonaparte  took  the  lead  for  awhile  in  John's 
panic-struck  brain  ;  and  latterly,  the  Whigs  and  the  Examiner  news- 
paper have  borne  the  bell  before  all  other  topics  of  abuse  and  obloquy. 
Formerly,  liberty  was  the  word  with  John, — now  it  has  become  a 
bye-word.  Whoever  is  not  determined  to  make  a  slave  and  a  drudge 
of  him,  he  defies,  he  sets  at,  he  tosses  in  the  air,  he  tramples  under 
foot ;  and  after  having  mangled  and  crushed  whom  he  pleases,  stands 
stupid  and  melancholy  [fanum  in  cornu)  over  the  lifeless  remains  of 
his  victim.  When  his  fury  is  over,  he  repents  of  what  he  has  done — 
too  late.  In  his  tame  fit,  and  having  made  a  clear  stage  of  all  who 
would  or  could  direct  him  right,  he  is  led  gently  by  the  nose  by  Mr. 
Croker ;  and  the  '  Stout  Gentleman '  gets  upon  his  back,  making  a 
monster  of  him.  Why  is  there  a  tablet  stuck  up  in  St.  Peter's  at 
Rome,  to  the  memory  of  the  three  last  of  the  Stuarts  ?  Is  it  a 
baises  mains  to  the  Pope,  or  a  compromise  with  legitimacy  ?  Is  the 
dread  of  usurpation  become  so  strong,  that  a  reigning  family  are  half- 
ready  to  acknowledge  themselves  usurpers,  in  favour  of  those  who  are 
244 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

not  likely  to  come  back  to  assert  their  claim,  and  to  countenance  the 
principles  that  may  keep  them  on  a  throne,  in-  lieu  of  the  paradoxes 
that  placed  them  there  ?  It  is  a  handsome  way  of  paying  for  a  king- 
dom with  an  epitaph,  and  of  satisfying  the  pretensions  of  the  living 
and  the  dead.  But  we  did  not  expel  the  slavish  and  tyrannical 
Stuarts  from  our  soil  by  the  volcanic  eruption  of  1688,  to  send  a 
whining  Jesuitical  recantation  and  writ  of  error  after  them  to  the 
other  world  a  hundred  years  afterwards.  But  it  may  be  said  that  the 
inscription  is  merely  a  tribute  of  respect  to  misfortune.  What !  from 
that  quarter  ?  No !  it  is  a  '  lily-livered,'  polished,  courtly,  pious 
monument  to  the  fears  that  have  so  long  beset  the  hearts  of  Monarchs, 
to  the  pale  apparitions  of  Kings  dethroned  or  beheaded  in  time  past 
or  to  come  (from  that  sad  example)  to  the  crimson  flush  of  victory, 
which  has  put  out  the  light  of  truth,  and  to  the  reviving  hope  of  that 
deathless  night  of  ignorance  and  superstition,  when  they  shall  once 
more  reign  as  Gods  upon  the  earth,  and  make  of  their  enemies  their 
footstool !  Foreigners  cannot  comprehend  this  bear-garden  work  of 
ours  at  all:  they  'perceive  a  fury,  but  nothing  wherefore.'  They 
cannot  reconcile  the  violence  of  our  wills  with  the  dulness  of  our 
apprehensions,  nor  account  for  the  fuss  we  make  about  nothing  ;  our 
convulsions  and  throes  without  end  or  object,  the  pains  we  take  to 
defeat  ourselves  and  others,  and  to  undo  all  that  we  have  ever  done, 
sooner  than  any  one  else  should  share  the  benefit  of  it.  They  think 
it  is  strange,  that  out  of  mere  perversity  and  contradiction  we  would 
rather  be  slaves  ourselves,  than  suffer  others  to  be  free ;  that  we  back 
out  of  our  most  heroic  acts  and  disavow  our  favourite  maxims  (the 
blood-stained  devices  in  our  national  coat  of  arms)  the  moment  we  find 
others  disposed  to  assent  to  or  imitate  us,  and  that  we  would  willingly 
see  the  last  hope  of  liberty  and  independence  extinguished,  sooner  than 
give  the  smallest  credit  to  those  who  sacrifice  every  thing  to  keep  the 
spark  alive,  or  abstain  from  joining  in  every  species  of  scurrility, 
insult,  and  calumny  against  them,  if  the  word  is  once  given  by  the 
whippers-in  of  power.  The  English  imagination  is  not  riante :  it 
inclines  to  the  gloomy  and  morbid  with  a  heavy  instinctive  bias,  and 
when  fear  and  interest  are  thrown  into  the  scale,  down  it  goes  with  a 
vengeance  that  is  not  to  be  resisted,  and  from  the  effects  of  which  it 
is  not  easy  to  recover.  The  enemies  of  English  liberty  are  aware  of 
this  weakness  in  the  public  mind,  and  make  a  notable  use  of  it. 

'  But  that  two-handed  engine  at  the  door 
Stands  ready  to  smite  once  and  smite  no  more.' 

Gliie  a  dog  an  ill  name,  and  hang  him — so  says  the  proverb.     The 
courtiers  say,  '  Give  a  patriot  an  ill  name,  and  ruin  him '  alike  with 

245 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

Whig  and  Tory — with  the  last,  because  he  hates  you  as  a  friend  to 
freedom ;  with  the  first,  because  he  is  afraid  of  being  implicated  in 
the  same  obloquy  with  you.  This  is  the  reason  why  the  Magdalen 
Muse  of  Mr.  Thomas  Moore  finds  a  taint  in  the  Liberal;  why  Mr. 
Hobhouse  visits  Pisa,  to  dissuade  Lord  Byron  from  connecting  him- 
self with  any  but  gentlemen-born,  for  the  credit  of  the  popular  cause. 
Set  about  a  false  report  or  insinuation,  and  the  effect  is  instantaneous 
and  universally  felt — prove  that  there  is  nothing  in  it,  and  you  are 
just  where  you  were.  Something  wrong  somewhere,  in  reality  or 
imagination,  in  public  or  in  private,  is  necessary  to  the  minds  of  the 
English  people :  bring  a  charge  against  any  one,  and  they  hug  you  to 
their  breasts :  attempt  to  take  it  from  them,  and  they  resist  it  as  they 
would  an  attack  upon  their  persons  or  property :  a  nickname  is  to 
their  moody,  splenetic  humour  a  freehold  estate,  from  which  they  will 
not  be  ejected  by  fair  means  or  foul :  they  conceive  they  have  a  -oested 
right  in  calumny.  No  matter  how  base  the  lie,  how  senseless  the  jest, 
it  tells — because  the  public  appetite  greedily  swallows  whatever  is 
nauseous  and  disgusting,  and  refuses,  through  weakness  or  obstinacy, 
to  disgorge  it  again.  Therefore  Mr.  Croker  plies  his  dirty  task — 
and  is  a  Privy-councillor ;  Mr.  Theodore  Hook  calls  Mr.  Waithman 
'  Lord  Waithman '  once  a  week,  and  passes  for  a  wit ! 

I  had  the  good  fortune  to  meet  the  other  day  at  Paris  with  my  old 

fellow-student  Dr.  E ,  after  a  lapse  of  thirty  years ;  he  is  older 

than  I  by  a  year  or  two,  and  makes  it  five-and-twenty.  He  had  not 
been  idle  since  we  parted.  He  sometimes  looked  in,  after  having 
paid  La  Place  a  visit ;  and  I  told  him  it  was  almost  as  if  he  had 
called  on  a  star  in  his  way.  It  is  wonderful  how  friendship,  that  has 
long  lain  unused,  accumulates  like  money  at  compound  interest.  We 
had  to  settle  a  long  account,  and  to  compare  old  times  and  new.  He 
was  naturally  anxious  to  learn  the  state  of  our  politics  and  literature, 
and  was  not  a  little  mortified  to  hear  that  England,  '  whose  boast  it 
was  to  give  out  reformation  to  the  world,'  had  changed  her  motto, 
and  was  now  bent  on  propping  up  the  continental  despotisms,  and  on 
lashing  herself  to  them.  He  was  particularly  mortified  at  the 
degraded  state  of  our  public  press — at  the  systematic  organization  of 
a  corps  of  government-critics  to  decry  every  liberal  sentiment,  and 
proscribe  every  liberal  writer  as  an  enemy  to  the  person  of  the  reigning 
sovereign,  only  because  he  did  not  avow  the  principles  of  the  Stuarts. 
I  had  some  difficulty  in  making  him  understand  the  full  lengths  of  the 
malice,  the  lying,  the  hypocrisy,  the  sleek  adulation,  the  meanness, 
equivocation,  and  skulking   concealment,  of  a  Quarterly  Reviewer,'^ 

^  A  Mr.  Law  lately  came  over  from  America  to  horsewhip  the  writer  of  an 
article  in  the  Sluarterly,  reflecting  on  his  mother  (Mrs.  Law)  as  a  woman  of  bad 
246 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

the  reckless  blackguardism  of  Mr.  Blackwood,  and  the  obtuse 
drivelling  profligacy  of  the  John  Bull.  He  said,  '  It  is  worse  with 
you  than  with  us :  here  an  author  is  obliged  to  sacrifice  twenty 
mornings  and  twenty  pair  of  black  silk-stockings,  in  paying  his  court 
to  the  Editors  of  different  journals,  to  ensure  a  hearing  from  the 
public  ;  but  with  you,  it  seems,  he  must  give  up  his  understanding  and 
his  character,  to  establish  a  claim  to  taste  or  learning.'  He  asked  if 
the  scandal  could  not  be  disproved,  and  retorted  on  the  heads  of  the 
aggressors :  but  I  said  that  these  were  persons  of  no  character,  or 
studiously  screened  by  their  employers ;  and  besides,  the  English 
imagination  was  a  bird  of  heavy  wing,  that,  if  once  dragged  through 
the  kennel  of  Billingsgate  abuse,  could  not  well  raise  itself  out  of  it 
again.  He  could  hardly  believe  that  under  the  Hanover  dynasty  (a 
dynasty  founded  to  secure  us  against  tyranny)  a  theatrical  licenser 
had  struck  the  word  '  tyrant '  out  of  Mr.  Shee's  tragedy,  as  offensive 
to  ears  polite,  or  as  if  from  this  time  forward  there  could  be  supposed 
to  be  no  such  thing  in  rerum  natura  ;  and  that  the  common  ejaculation, 
'  Good  God !  '  was  erased  from  the  same  piece,  as  in  a  strain  of  too 
great  levity  in  this  age  of  cant.  I  told  him  that  public  opinion  in 
England  was  at  present  governed  by  half  a  dozen  miscreants,  who 
undertook  to  bait,  hoot,  and  worry  every  man  out  of  his  country,  or 
into  an  obscure  grave,  with  lies  and  nicknames,  who  was  not  prepared 
to  take  the  political  sacrament  of  the  day,  and  use  his  best  endeavours 
(he  and  his  friends)  to  banish  the  last  traces  of  freedom,  truth,  and 
honesty  from  the  land.  '  To  be  direct  and  honest  is  not  safe.'  To 
be  a  Reformer,  the  friend  of  a  Reformer,  or  the  friend's  friend  of  a 
Reformer,  is  as  much  as  a  man's  peace,  reputation,  or  even  life  is 
worth.  Answer,  if  it  is  not  so,  pale  shade  of  Keats,  or  living  mummy 
of  William  Gifford  !  Dr.  E was  unwilling  to  credit  this  state- 
ment, but  the  proofs  were  too  flagrant.  He  asked  me  what  became 
of  that  band  of  patriots  that  swarmed  in  our  younger  days,  that  were 
so  glowing-hot,  desperate,  and  noisy  in  the  year  1794?  I  said 
I  could  not  tell ;  but  referred  him  to  our  present  Poet-Laureate  for 
an  account  of  them  ! 

'  Can  these  things  be, 

And  overcome  us  like  a  summer-cloud. 

Without  a  special  wonder  ? ' 

character,  for  the  Tory  reason  that  she  was  the  wife  of  a  Mr.  Law,  who  differed 
with  his  brother  (Lord  Ellenborough)  in  politics.  He  called  on  Mr.  Barrow,  who 
knew  nothing  of  the  writer  ;  he  called  on  Mr.  Gifford,  who  knew  nothing  of  the 
writer  ;  he  called  on  Mr.  Murray,  who  looked  oddly,  but  he  could  get  no  redress 
except  a  public  disavowal  of  the  falsehood  ;  and  they  took  that  opportunity  to 
retract  some  other  American  calumny.  Mr.  L.  called  on  one  Secretary  of  the 
Admiralty,  but  there  are  two  Secretaries  of  the  Admiralty  ! 

247 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

I  suspect  it  is  peculiar  to  the  English  not  to  answer  the  letters  of 
their  friends  abroad.     They  know  you  are  anxious  to  hear,  and  have 
a  surly,  sullen  pleasure  in  disappointing  you.     To  oblige  is  a  thing 
abhorrent  to  their  imaginations ;    to  be  uneasy  at  not  hearing  from 
home    just   when    one    wishes,    is    a    weakness    which    they    cannot 
encourage.     Any  thing  like  a  responsibility  attached  to  their  writing 
is  a  kind  of  restraint  upon  their  free-will,  an  interference  with  their 
independence.     There  is  a  sense   of  superiority  in  not  letting  you 
know  what  you  wish  to  know,  and  in  keeping  you  in  a  state  of  help- 
less suspense.     Besides,  they  think  you  are  angry  at  their  not  writing, 
and  would  make  them  if  you  could;    and  they  show  their  resentment 
of  your  impatience  and  ingratitude  by  continuing  not  to  write. — One 
thing  truly  edifying  in  the  accounts  from  England,  is  the  number  of 
murders  and   robberies   with   which   the  newspapers   abound.     One 
would  suppose  that  the  repetition  of  the  details,  week  after  week, 
and  day  after  day,  might  stagger  us  a  little  as  to  our  superlative  idea 
of  the  goodness,  honesty,  and  industry  of  the  English  people.     No 
such  thing :  whereas  one  similar  fact  occurring  once  a  year  abroad 
fills  us  with  astonishment,  and  makes  us  ready   to  dub  the  Italians ''' 
(without  any  further  inquiry)  a  nation  of  assassins  and  banditti.     It 
is  not  safe  to  live  or  travel  among  them.     Is  it  not  strange,  that  we 
should  persist  in  drawing  such  wilful  conclusions  from  such  groundless 
premises?     A  murder  or  a  street-robbery  in  London  is  a  matter  of 
course  ^  :    accumulate  a  score   of  these  under   the   most  aggravated 
circumstances  one  upon  the  back  of  the  other,  in  town  and  country, 
in  the  course  of  a  few  weeks — -they  all  go  for  nothing ;    they  make 
nothing  against  the  English  character  in  the  abstract ;    the  force  of 
prejudice  is  stronger  than  the  weight  of  evidence.     The  process  of 
the  mind  is  this ;   and  absurd  as  it  appears,  is  natural  enough.     We 
say  (to  ourselves)  we  are  English,  we  are  good  people,  and  therefore 
the  English  are  good  people.     We  carry  a  proxy  in  our  bosoms  for 
the  national  character  in  general.     Our  own  motives  are  '  very  stuff 
o'    the    conscience,'    and    not    like    those    of    barbarous   foreigners. 
Besides,  we  know  many  excellent  English  people,  and  the  mass  of 
the   population   cannot  be  affected   in  the  scale  of  morality  by  the 
outrages  of  a  few  ruffians,  which  instantly  meet  with  the  reward  they 
merit  from    wholesome  and    excellent    laws.      We    are    not   to    be 
moved  from  this  position,  that  the  great  body  of  the  British  public 
do  not  live  by  thieving  and  cutting  the  throats  of  their  neighbours, 

^  Chief  Justice  Holt  used  to  say,  'there  were  more  robberies  committed  in 
England  than  in  Scotland,  because  ivc  had  better  hearts'  The  English  are  at  all 
times  disposed  to  interpret  this  literally. 

248 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

whatever  the  accounts  in  the  newspapers  might  lead  us  to  suspect. 
The  streets  are  lined  with  bakers',  butchers',  and  haberdashers'  shops, 
instead  of  night-cellars  and  gaming-houses  ;  and  are  crowded  with 
decent,  orderly,  well-dressed  people,  instead  of  being  rendered 
impassable  by  gangs  of  swindlers  and  pickpockets.  The  exception  does 
not  make  the  rule.  Nothing  can  be  more  clear  or  proper ;  and  yet 
if  a  single  Italian  commit  a  murder  or  a  robbery,  we  immediately  form 
an  abstraction  of  this  individual  case,  and  because  we  are  ignorant  of 
the  real  character  of  the  people  or  state  of  manners  in  a  million  of 
instances,  take  upon  us,  like  true  Englishmen,  to  fill  up  the  blank, 
which  is  left  at  the  mercy  of  our  horror-struck  imaginations,  with 
bugbears  and  monsters  of  every  description.  We  should  extend  to 
others  the  toleration  and  the  suspense  of  judgment  we  claim  ;  and  I 
am  sure  we  stand  in  need  of  it  from  those  who  read  the  important 
head  of  '  Accidents  and  Offences  '  in  our  Journals.  It  is  true  an 
Italian  baker,  some  time  ago,  shut  his  wife  up  in  an  oven,  where  she 
was  burnt  to  death  ;  the  heir  of  a  noble  family  stabbed  an  old  woman 
to  rob  her  of  her  money  ;  a  lady  of  quality  had  her  step-daughter 
chained  to  a  bed  of  straw,  and  fed  on  bread  and  water  till  she  lost 
her  senses.  This  translated  into  vulgar  English  means  that  all  the 
bakers'  wives  in  Italy  are  burnt  by  their  husbands  at  a  slow  fire ; 
that  all  the  young  nobility  are  common  bravoes ;  that  all  the  step- 
mothers exercise  unheard-of  and  unrelenting  cruelty  on  the  children 
of  a  former  marriage.  We  only  want  a  striking  frontispiece  to  make 
out  a  tragic  volume.  As  the  traveller  advances  into  the  country, 
robbers  and  rumours  of  robbers  fly  before  him  with  the  horizon.  In 
Italy, 

'  Man  seldom  is — but  always  to  be  robbed.'' 

At  Turin,  they  told  me  it  was  not  wise  to  travel  by  a  vetturino 
to  Florence  without  arms.  At  Florence,  I  was  told  one  could  not 
walk  out  to  look  at  an  old  ruin  in  Rome,  without  expecting  to  see 
a  Lazzaroni  start  from  behind  some  part  of  it  with  a  pistol  in  his 
hand.  '  There  's  no  such  thing ; '  but  hatred  has  its  phantoms  as 
well  as  fear  ;  and  the  English  traduce  and  indulge  their  prejudices 
against  other  nations  in  order  to  have  a  pretence  for  maltreating  them. 
This  moral  delicacy  plays  an  under-game  to  their  political  profligacy. 
I  am  at  present  kept  from  proceeding  forward  to  Naples  by  imaginary 
bands  of  brigands  that  infest  the  road  the  whole  way.  The  fact  is, 
that  a  gang  of  banditti,  who  had  committed  a  number  of  atrocities 
and  who  had  their  haunts  in  the  mountains  near  Sonino,  were  taken 
up  about  three  years  ago,  to  the  amount  of  two-and  thirty :  four  of 
them  were  executed  at  Rome,  and  their  wives  still  get  their  living 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

in  this  city  by  sitting  as  models  to  artists,  on  account  of  the  handsome- 
ness of  their  features  and  the  richness  of  their  dresses.  As  to 
courtesans,  from  which  one  cannot  separate  the  name  of  Italy  even 
in  idea,  I  have  seen  but  one  person  answering  to  this  description 
since  I  came,  and  I  do  not  even  know  that  this  was  one.  But  I 
saw  a  girl  in  white  (an  unusual  thing)  standing  at  some  distance  at 
the  corner  of  one  of  the  bye-streets  in  Rome  ;  after  looking  round 
her  for  a  moment,  she  ran  hastily  up  the  street  again,  as  if  in  fear  of 
being  discovered,  and  a  countryman  who  was  passing  with  a  cart  at 
the  time,  stopped  to  look  and  hiss  after  her.  If  the  draymen  in 
London  were  to  stop  to  gape  and  hoot  at  all  the  girls  they  see  stand- 
ing at  the  corners  of  streets  in  a  doubtful  capacity,  they  would  have 
enough  to  do.  But  the  tide  of  public  prostitution  that  pours  down 
all  our  streets  is  considered  by  some  moralists  as  a  drain  to  carry  off 
the  peccant  humours  of  private  life,  and  to  keep  the  inmost  recesses 
of  the  female  breast  sweet  and  pure  from  blemish  !  If  this  is  to  be 
the  test,  we  have  indeed  nearly  arrived  at  the  idea  of  a  perfect 
commonwealth. 

Cicisleism  is  still  kept  up  in  Italy,  though  somewhat  on  the  decline. 
I  have  nothing  to  say  in  favour  of  that  anomaly  in  vice  and  virtue. 
The  English  women  are  particularly  shocked  at  it,  who  are  allowed 
to  hate  their  husbands,  provided  they  do  not  like  any  body  else.  It 
is  a  kind  of  marriage  within  a  marriage ;  it  begins  with  infidelity  to 
end  in  constancy  ;  it  is  not  a  state  of  licensed  dissipation,  but  is  a 
real  chain  of  the  affections,  superadded  to  the  first  formal  one,  and 
that  often  lasts  for  life.  A  gay  captain  in  the  Pope's  Guard  is 
selected  by  a  lady  as  her  canialier  ser-uente  in  the  prime  of  life,  and 
is  seen  digging  in  the  garden  of  the  family  in  a  grey  jacket  and  white 
hairs  thirty  years  after.  This  does  not  look  like  a  love  of  change. 
The  husband  is  of  course  always  i. fixture ;  not  so  the  cavalier  ser-uente, 
who  is  liable  to  be  removed  for  a  new  favourite.  In  noble  families 
the  lover  must  be  noble;  and  he  must  be  approved  by  the  husband. 
A  young  officer,  who  the  other  iSay  volunteered  this  service  to  a 
beautiful  Marchioness  without  either  of  these  titles,  and  was  a  sort 
of  interloper  on  the  intended  gallant,  was  sent  to  Volterra.  What- 
ever is  the  height  to  which  this  system  has  been  carried,  or  the  level 
to  which  it  has  sunk,  it  does  not  appear  to  have  extinguished  jealousy 
in  all  its  excess  as  a  part  of  the  national  character,  as  the  following 
story  will  shew  :  it  is  related  by  M.  Beyle,  in  his  charming  little 
work,  entitled  De  I' Amour,  as  a  companion  to  the  famous  one  in 
Dante  ;  and  I  shall  give  the  whole  passage  in  his  words,  as  placing 
the  Italian  character  (in  former  as  well  as  latter  times)  in  a  striking 
point  of  view. 

250 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

'  I  allude,'  he  says,  '  to  those  touching  lines  of  Dante  ; — 

'  Deh  !  quando  tu  sarai  tomato  al  mondo, 
Ricordati  di  me,  che  son  la  Pia ; 
Sienna  mi  fe  :  disfecemi  Maremma : 
Salsi  colui,  che  inannellata  pria, 
Disposando,  m'avea  con  la  sua  gemma/ — Purgatorio,  c.  5. 

'  The  woman  who  speaks  with  so  much  reserve,  had  in  secret 
undergone  the  fate  of  Desdemona,  and  had  it  in  her  power,  by  a 
single  word,  to  have  revealed  her  husband's  crime  to  the  friends 
whom  she  had  left  upon  earth. 

'  Nello  della  Pietra  obtained  in  marriage  the  hand  of  Madonna 
Pia,  sole  heiress  of  the  Ptolomei,  the  richest  and  most  noble  family 
of  Sienna.  Her  beauty,  which  was  the  admiration  of  all  Tuscany, 
gave  rise  to  a  jealousy  in  the  breast  of  her  husband,  that,  envenomed 
by  false  reports  and  by  suspicions  continually  reviving,  led  to  a  fright- 
ful catastrophe.  It  is  not  easy  to  determine  at  this  day  if  his  wife 
was  altogether  innocent ;  but  Dante  has  represented  her  as  such. 
Her  husband  carried  her  with  him  into  the  marshes  of  Volterra, 
celebrated  then,  as  now,  for  the  pestiferous  effects  of  the  air.  Never 
would  he  tell  his  unhappy  wife  the  reason  of  her  banishment  into  so 
dangerous  a  place.  His  pride  did  not  deign  to  pronounce  either 
complaint  or  accusation.  He  lived  with  her  alone,  in  a  deserted 
tower,  of  which  I  have  been  to  see  the  ruins  on  the  sea-shore ;  here 
he  never  broke  his  disdainful  silence,  never  replied  to  the  questions 
of  his  youthful  bride,  never  listened  to  her  entreaties.  He  waited 
unmoved  by  her  for  the  air  to  produce  its  fatal  effects.  The  vapours 
of  this  unwholesome  swamp  were  not  long  in  tarnishing  features  the 
most  beautiful,  they  say,  that  in  that  age  had  appeared  upon  earth. 
In  a  few  months  she  died.  Some  chroniclers  of  these  remote  times 
report,  that  Nello  employed  the  dagger  to  hasten  her  end :  she  died 
in  the  marshes  in  some  horrible  manner  ;  but  the  mode  of  her  death 
remained  a  mystery,  even  to  her  contemporaries.  Nello  della  Pietra 
survived  to  pass  the  rest  of  his  days  in  a  silence  which  was  never 
broken. 

'  Nothing  can  be  conceived  more  noble  or  more  delicate  than  the 
manner  in  which  the  ill-fated  Pia  addresses  herself  to  Dante.  She 
desires  to  be  recalled  to  the  memory  of  the  friends  whom  she  had 
quitted  so  young :  at  the  same  time,  in  telling  her  name  and  alluding 
to  her  husband,  she  does  not  allow  herself  the  smallest  complaint 
against  a  cruelty  unexampled,  but  thenceforth  irreparable ;  and  merely 
intimates  that  he  knows  the  history  of  her  death.  This  constancy 
in  vengeance  and  in  suffering  is  to  be  met  with,  I  believe,  only  among 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

the  people  of  the  South.  In  Piedmont,  I  found  myself  the 
involuntary  witness  of  a  fact  almost  similar ;  but  I  was  at  the  time 
ignorant  of  the  details.  I  was  ordered  with  five-and-twenty  dragoons 
into  the  woods  that  border  the  Sesia,  to  prevent  the  contraband 
trafEc.  On  ray  arrival  in  the  evening  at  this  wild  and  solitary  place, 
I  distinguished  among  the  trees  the  ruins  of  an  old  castle  :  I  went  to 
it :  to  my  great  surprise,  it  was  inhabited.  I  there  found  a  Noble- 
man of  the  country,  of  a  very  unpromising  aspect ;  a  man  six  feet  in 
height,  and  forty  years  of  age  :  he  allowed  me  a  couple  of  apartments 
with  a  very  ill  grace.  Here  I  entertained  myself  by  getting  up  some 
pieces  of  music  with  my  quarter-master :  after  the  expiration  of  some 
days,  we  discovered  that  our  host  kept  guard  over  a  woman  whom 
we  called  Camilla  in  jest :  we  were  far  from  suspecting  the  dreadful 
truth.  She  died  at  the  end  of  six  weeks.  I  had  the  melancholy 
curiosity  to  see  her  in  her  coffin ;  I  bribed  a  monk  who  had  charge 
of  it,  and  towards  midnight,  under  pretext  of  sprinkling  the  holy 
water,  he  conducted  me  into  the  chapel.  I  there  saw  one  of  those 
fine  faces,  which  are  beautiful  even  in  the  bosom  of  death :  she  had 
a  large  aquiline  nose,  of  which  I  never  shall  forget  the  noble  and 
expressive  outline.  I  quitted  this  mournful  spot ;  but  five  years 
after,  a  detachment  of  my  regiment  accompanying  the  Emperor  to 
his  coronation  as  King  of  Italy,  I  had  the  whole  story  recounted  to 

me.     I  learned  that  the  jealous  husband,  the  Count  of ,  had  one 

morning  found,  hanging  to  his  wife's  bedside,  an  English  watch 
belonging  to  a  young  man  in  the  little  town  where  they  lived.  The 
same  day  he  took  her  to  the  ruined  castle,  in  the  midst  of  the  forests 
of  the  Sesia.  Like  Nello  della  Pietra,  he  uttered  not  a  single  word. 
If  she  made  him  any  request,  he  presented  to  her  sternly  and  in 
silence  the  English  watch,  which  he  had  always  about  him.  In  this 
manner  he  passed  nearly  three  years  with  her.  She  at  length  fell  a 
victim  to  despair,  in  the  flower  of  her  age.  Her  husband  attempted 
to  dispatch  the  owner  of  the  watch  with  a  stiletto,  failed,  fled  to 
Genoa,  embarked  there,  and  no  tidings  have  been  heard  of  him 
since.     His  property  was  confiscated.' — De  V Amour,  vol  i.  p.  131. 

This  story  is  interesting  and  well  told.  One  such  incident,  or 
one  page  in  Dante  or  in  Spenser  is  worth  all  the  route  between  this 
and  Paris,  and  all  the  sights  in  all  the  post-roads  in  Europe.  Oh 
Sienna !  if  I  felt  charmed  with  thy  narrow,  tenantless  streets,  or 
looked  delighted  through  thy  arched  gateway  over  the  subjected 
plain,  it  was  that  some  recollections  of  Madonna  Pia  hung  upon  the 
beatings  of  my  spirit,  and  converted  a  barren  waste  into  the  regions 
of  romance ! 

252 


THROUGH   FRANCE   AND   ITALY 


CHAPTER    XXI 

We  had  some  thoughts  of  taking  a  lodging  at  L'Ariccia,  at  the  Caffe 
del  Piazza,  for  a  month,  but  the  deep  sandy   roads,   the   centinels 
posted  every  half-mile  on  this,  which  is  the  route  for  Naples  (which 
shewed  that  it  was  not  very  safe  to  leave  them),  the  loose,  straggling 
woods    sloping   down    to    the    dreary    marshes,    and    the    story    of 
Hippolitus    painted   on    the  walls  of  the  inn   (who,   it   seems,  was 
'native    to    the   manner    here'),   deterred  us.       L'Ariccia,   besides 
being,   after   Cortona,   the   oldest    place    in    Italy,   is    also   one   step 
towards  Naples,  which  I  had  a  strong  desire  to  see — its  brimming 
shores,  its  sky  which  glows  like  one  entire  sun,  Vesuvius,  the  mouth 
of  Hell,  and   Sorrentum,  like   the   Islands   of  the  Blest — yet   here 
again   the  reports  of  robbers,   exaggerated  alike  by  foreigners   and 
natives,  who  wish  to  keep  you  where  you  are,  the  accounts  of  hogs 
without  hair,  and  children  without  clothes  to  their  backs,  the  vermin 
(animal  as  well  as  human),  the  gilded  hams  and  legs  of  mutton  that 
Forsyth  speaks  of,  gave  me  a  distaste  to  the  journey,  and  I  turned 
back  to  put  an  end  to  the  question.     I  am  fond  of  the  sun,  though 
I  do  not  like  to  see  him  and  the  assassin's  knife  glaring  over  my  head 
together.     As   to   the  real  amount  of  the  danger  of  travelling  this 
road,  as  far  as  I  can  learn,  it  is  this — there  is  at  present  a  possibility 
but  no  probability  of  your  being  robbed  or  kidnapped,  if  you  go  in 
the  daytime  and  by  the  common  method  of  a  Vetturino,  stopping  two 
nights  on  the  road.     If  you  go  alone,  and  with  a  determination  to 
set    time,   place,  and    circumstances   at    defiance,  like  a   personified 
representation    of   John    Bull,    maintaining    the    character    of  your 
countrymen  for   sturdiness   and  independence   of  spirit,  you  stand  a 
very  good  chance  of  being  shot  through  the  head :    the  same  thing 
might  happen  to  you,  if  you  refused  your  money  to  an  English  foot- 
pad ;  but  if  you  give  it  freely,  like  a  gentleman,  and  do  not  stand  too 
nicely  upon  a  punctilio,  they  let  you  pass  like  one.     If  you  have  no 
money  about  you,  you  must  up  into  the  mountain,  and  wait  till  you 
can  get  it.     For  myself,  my  remittances  have  not  been  very  regular 
even  in  walled  towns ;    how  I  should  fare  in  this  respect  upon  the 
forked  mountain,  I  cannot  tell,  and  certainly  I  have  no  wish  to  try. 
A  friend  of  mine  said  that  he  thought  it  the  only  romantic  thing  going, 
this  of  being  carried  off  by  the  banditti ;    that  life  was  become  too 
tame  and  insipid  without  such  accidents,  and  that  it  would  not  be 
amiss  to  put  one's-self  in  the  way  of  such  an  adventure,  like  putting 
in  for  the  grand  prize  in  the  lottery.     Assuredly,  one  is  not  likely 
to  go  to  sleep  in  such  circumstances  :    one  person  who  was  detained 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

in  this  manner,  and  threatened  every  hour  with  being  despatched, 
went  mad  in  consequence.  A  French  Artist  was  laid  hold  of  by  a 
gang  of  the  outlaws,  as  he  was  sketching  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
their  haunts,  about  a  year  ago ;  he  did  not  think  their  mode  of  life  at 
all  agreeable.  As  he  had  no  money,  they  employed  him  in  making 
sketches  of  their  heads,  with  which  they  were  exceedingly  delighted. 
Their  vanity  kept  him  continually  on  the  alert  when  they  had  a 
moment's  leisure ;  and,  besides,  he  was  fatigued  almost  to  death,  for 
they  made  long  marches  of  from  forty  to  fifty  miles  a  day,  and  scarcely 
ever  rested  more  than  one  night  in  the  same  place.  They  travelled 
through  bye-roads  (in  constant  apprehension  of  the  military)  in  parties 
of  five  or  six,  and  met  at  some  common  rendezvous  at  night-fall.  He 
was  in  no  danger  from  them  in  the  day-time  ;  but  at  night  they  sat 
up  drinking  and  carousing,  and  when  they  were  in  this  state  of  excite- 
ment, he  was  in  considerable  jeopardy  from  their  violence  or  sportive 
freaks :  they  amused  themselves  with  presenting  their  loaded  pieces 
at  his  breast,  or  threatened  to  dispatch  him  if  he  did  not  promise  to 
procure  ransom.  At  last  he  effected  his  escape  in  one  of  their 
drunken  bouts.  Their  seizure  of  the  Austrian  officer  last  year  was 
singular  enough  :  they  crept  for  above  a  mile  on  their  hands  and 
knees,  from  the  foot  of  the  mountain  which  was  their  place  of  retreat, 
and  carried  off  their  prize  in  the  same  manner,  so  as  to  escape  the 
notice  of  the  sentinels  who  were  stationed  at  short  distances  on  the 
road  side.  Some  years  since  a  plan  was  laid  to  carry  off  Lucien 
Buonaparte  from  his  villa  at  Frascati,  about  eleven  miles  from  Rome, 
on  the  Albano  side,  where  the  same  range  of  Apennines  begins :  he 
was  walking  in  his  garden  and  saw  them  approaching  through  some 
trees,  for  his  glance  is  quick  and  furtive ;  he  retired  into  the  house, 
his  valet  came  out  to  meet  them,  who  passed  himself  off  for  his 
master,  they  were  delighted  with  their  sham-prize,  and  glad  to  take 
4,000  crowns  to  release  him.  Since  then  Lucien  Buonaparte  has 
lived  in  Rome.  I  remember  once  meeting  this  celebrated  character 
in  the  streets  of  Paris,  walking  arm  in  arm  with  Maria  Cosway,  with 
whom  I  had  drunk  tea  the  evening  before.  He  was  dressed  in  a 
light  drab-coloured  great-coat,  and  was  then  a  spirited,  dashing-looking 
young  man.  I  believe  I  am  the  only  person  in  England  who  ever 
read  his  Charlemagne.  It  is  as  clever  a  poem  as  can  be  written  by 
a  man  who  is  not  a  poet.  It  came  out  in  two  volumes  quarto,  and 
several  individuals  were  applied  to  by  the  publishers  to  translate  it ; 
among  others  Sir  Walter  Scott,  who  gave  for  answer,  '  that  as  to 
Mister  Buonaparte's  poem,  he  should  have  nothing  to  do  with  it.' 
Such  was  the  petty  spite  of  this  understrapper  of  greatness  and  of 
titles,  himself  since  titled,  the  scale  of  whose  intellect  can  be  equalled 
254 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

by  nothing  but  the  pitifulness  and  rancour  of  his  prejudices  !  The 
last  account  I  have  heard  of  the  exploits  of  Neapolitan  banditti  is, 
that  they  had  seized  upon  two  out  of  three  Englishmen,  who  had 
determined  upon  passing  through  Calabria  on  their  way  to  Sicily,  and 
were  proceeding  beyond  Psestum  for  this  purpose.  They  were  told 
by  the  Commandant  there,  that  this  was  running  into  the  lion's 
mouth,  that  there  were  no  patrols  to  protect  them  farther,  and  that 
they  were  sure  to  be  intercepted ;  but  an  Englishman's  will  is  his 
law — they  went  forward — and  succeeded  in  getting  themselves  into 
the  only  remaining  romantic  situation.  I  have  not  heard  whether  they 
have  yet  got  out  of  it.  The  national  propensity  to  contend  with 
difficulty  and  to  resist  obstacles  is  curious,  perhaps  praiseworthy.  A 
young  Englishman  returned  the  other  day  to  Italy  with  a  horse  that 
he  had  brought  with  him  for  more  than  two  thousand  miles  on  the 
other  side  of  Grand  Cairo ;  and  poor  Bowdich  gave  up  the  ghost  in 
a  second  attempt  to  penetrate  to  the  source  of  the  Niger,  the  encourage- 
ment to  persevere  being  in  proportion  to  the  impossibility  of  success  ! 
I  am  myself  somewhat  effeminate,  and  would  rather  '  the  primrose 
path  of  dalliance  tread ; '  or  the  height  of  my  ambition  in  this  line 
would  be  to  track  the  ancient  route  up  the  valley  of  the  Simplon, 
leaving  the  modern  road  (much  as  I  admire  the  work  and  the  work- 
man), and  clambering  up  the  ledges  of  rocks,  and  over  broken  bridges, 
at  the  risk  of  a  sprained  ankle  or  a  broken  limb,  to  return  to  a  late, 
but  excellent  dinner  at  the  post-house  at  Brigg ! 

What  increases  the  alarm  of  robbers  in  the  South  of  Italy,  is  the 
reviving  of  old  stories,  like  the  multiplication  of  echoes,  and  shifting 
their  dates  indefinitely,  so  as  to  excite  the  fears  of  the  listener,  or 
answer  the  purposes  of  the  speaker.  About  three  years  ago,  a 
desperate  gang  of  ruffians  infested  the  passes  of  the  Abruzzi,  and 
committed  a  number  of  atrocities ;  but  this  gang,  to  the  amount  of 
about  thirty,  were  seized  and  broken  up,  their  ringleaders  beheaded 
in  the  Square  di  Popolo  at  Rome,  and  their  wives  or  mistresses  now 
live  there  by  sitting  for  their  pictures  to  English  artists.  The 
remainder  figure  as  convicts  in  striped  yellow  and  brown  dresses  in 
the  streets  of  Rome,  and  very  civilly  pull  off  their  hats  to  strangers 
as  they  pass.  By  the  way,  I  cannot  help  reprobating  this  practice  of 
employing  felons  as  common  labourers  in  places  of  public  resort. 
Either  you  must  be  supposed  to  keep  up  your  feelings  of  dislike  and 
indignation  against  them  while  thus  mixing  with  the  throng  and 
innocently  employed,  which  is  a  disagreeable  and  forced  operation  of 
the  sense  of  justice ;  or  if  you  retain  no  such  feelings  towards  these 
victims  of  the  law,  then  why  do  they  retain  the  chains  on  their  feet 
and  ugly  badges  on  their  shoulders  ?     If  the  thing  is  to  be  treated 

255 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

seriously,  it  is  painful :  if  lightly  and  good-humouredly,  it  turns  the 
whole  affair  into  a  farce  or  drama,  with  as  little  of  the  useful  as  the 
pleasant  in  it.  I  know  nothing  of  these  people  that  I  see  manacled 
and  branded,  but  that  they  are  labouring  in  a  broiling  sun  for  my  con- 
venience ;  if  one  of  them  were  to  break  loose,  I  should  not  care  to 
stop  him.  When  we  witness  the  punishments  of  individuals,  we 
should  know  their  crimes  ;  or  at  least  their  punishment  and  their 
delinquency  should  not  be  mixed  up  indiscriminately  with  the  ordinary 
gaieties  and  business  of  human  life.  It  is  a  chapter  of  the  volume 
that  should  be  read  apart !  About  six  months  ago,  twenty-two 
brigands  came  down  from  the  mountains  at  Velletri,  and  carried  off 
four  young  women  from  the  village.  A  Vetturino,  who  wished  me 
to  return  with  him  to  Florence,  spoke  of  this  as  having  happened  the 
week  before.  There  is  a  band  of  about  ninety  banditti  scattered 
through  the  mountains  near  Naples.  Some  years  ago  they  were  the 
terror  of  travellers :  at  present  they  are  more  occupied  in  escaping 
from  the  police  themselves.  But  by  thus  confounding  dates  and 
names,  all  parts  of  the  road  are  easily  filled  all  the  year  round  with 
nothing  but  robbers  and  rumours  of  robbers.  In  short,  any  one  I 
believe  can  pass  with  proper  precaution  from  Rome  to  Naples  and 
back  again,  with  tolerable,  if  not  with  absolute  security.  If  he  can 
guard  equally  against  petty  thieving  and  constant  imposition  for  the 
rest  of  his  route,  it  will  be  well. 

Before  leaving  Rome,  we  went  to  Tivoli,  of  which  so  much  has 
been  said.  The  morning  was  bright  and  cloudless  ;  but  a  thick  mist 
rose  from  the  low,  rank,  marshy  grounds  of  the  Campagna,  and 
enveloped  a  number  of  curious  objects  to  the  right  and  left,  till  we 
approached  the  sulphurous  stream  of  Solfatara,  which  we  could  dis- 
tinguish at  some  distance  by  its  noise  and  smell,  and  which  crossing 
the  road  like  a  blue  ugly  snake,  infects  the  air  in  its  hasty  progress  to 
the  sea.  The  bituminous  lake  from  which  it  springs  is  about  a  mile 
distant,  and  has  the  remains  of  an  ancient  temple  on  its  borders. 
Farther  on  is  a  round  brick  tower,  the  tomb  of  the  Plautian  family, 
and  Adrian's  villa  glimmers  with  its  vernal  groves  and  nodding  arches 
to  the  right.  In  Rome,  around  it  nothing  strikes  the  eye,  nothing 
rivets  the  attention  but  ruins,  the  fragments  of  what  has  been ;  the 
past  is  like  a  halo  forever  surroiinding  and  obscuring  the  present ! 
Ruins  should  be  seen  in  a  desert,  like  those  of  Palmyra,  and  a  pil- 
grimage should  be  made  to  them  ;  but  who  would  take  up  his  abode 
among  tombs  ?  Or  if  there  be  a  country  and  men  in  it,  why  have 
they  nothing  to  shew  but  the  relics  of  antiquity,  or  why  are  the  living 
contented  to  crawl  about  like  worms,  or  to  hover  like  shadows  in  the 
monuments  of  the  dead  ?     Every  object  he  sees  reminds  the  modern 

256 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

Roman  that  he  is  nothing — the  spirits  of  former  times  overshadow 
him,  and  dwarf  his  pigmy  efforts :  every  object  he  sees  reminds  the 
traveller  that  greatness  is  its  own  grave.  Glory  cannot  last;  for 
when  a  thing  is  once  done,  it  need  not  be  done  again,  and  with  the 
energy  to  act,  a  people  lose  the  privilege  to  be.  They  repose  upon 
the  achievements  of  their  ancestors  ;  and  because  every  thing  has  been 
done  for  them,  sink  into  torpor,  and  dwindle  into  the  counterfeits  of 
what  they  were.  The  Greeks  will  not  recover  their  freedom  till 
they  forget  that  they  had  ancestors,  for  nothing  is  twice  because  it 
'was  once.  The  Americans  will  perhaps  lose  theirs,  when  they 
begin  fully  to  reap  all  the  fruits  of  it ;  for  the  energy  necessary  to 
acquire  freedom,  and  the  ease  that  follows  the  enjoyment  of  it,  are 
almost  incompatible.  If  Italy  should  ever  be  any  thing  again,  it  will 
be  when  the  tokens  of  her  former  glory,  pictures,  statues,  triumphal 
arches  are  mouldered  in  the  dust,  and  she  has  to  re-tread  the  gradual 
stages  of  civilization,  from  primeval  barbarism  to  the  topmost  round 
of  luxury  and  refinement ;  or  when  some  new  light  gives  her  a  new 
impulse;  or  when  the  last  oppression  (such  as  in  all  probability 
impends  over  her)  equally  contrary  to  former  independence,  to 
modern  apathy,  stinging  her  to  the  quick,  once  more  kindles  the  fire 
in  her  eye,  and  twines  the  deadly  terrors  on  her  brow.  Then  she 
might  have  music  in  her  streets,  the  dance  beneath  her  vines, 
inhabitants  in  her  houses,  business  in  her  shops,  passengers  in  her 
roads,  commerce  on  her  shores,  honesty  in  her  dealings,  openness  in 
her  looks,  books  for  the  censorship,  the  love  of  right  for  the  fear  of 
power,  and  a  calculation  of  consequences  from  a  knowledge  of  prin- 
ciples— and  England,  like  the  waning  moon,  would  grow  pale  in  the 
rising  dawn  of  liberty,  that  she  had  in  vain  tried  to  tarnish  and 
obscure  !      Mais  assez  des  reflexions  pour  un  voyageur. 

Tivoli  is  an  enchanting — a  fairy  spot.  Its  rocks,  its  grottos,  its 
temples,  its  waterfalls,and  the  rainbows  reflected  on  them,  answer  to 
the  description,  and  make  a  perfect  play  upon  the  imagination.  Every 
object  is  light  and  fanciful,  yet  steeped  in  classic  recollections.  The 
whole  is  a  fine  net-work — a  rare  assemblage  of  intricate  and  high- 
wrought  beauties.  To  do  justice  to  the  scene  would  require  the  pen 
of  Mr.  Moore,  minute  and  striking  as  it  is,  sportive  yet  romantic, 
displaying  all  the  fascinations  of  sense,  and  unfolding  the  mysteries  of 
sentiment, 

'  Where  all  is  strength  below,  and  all  above  is  grace,' — 

glittering  like  a  sunbeam  on  the  Sybil's  Temple  at  top,  or  darting  on 

a  rapid  antithesis  to  the  dark  grotto  of  the  God  beneath,  loading  the 

prismatic  spray  with  epithets,  linking  the  meeting  beauties  on  each 

VOL.  IX.  :  R  257 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

side  the  abrupt,  yawning  chasm  by  an  alliteration,  painting  the  flowers, 
pointing  the  rocks,  passing  the  narrow  bridge  on  a  dubious  metaphor, 
and  blending  the  natural  and  artificial,  the  modern  and  the  antique, 
the  simple  and  the  quaint,  the  glimmer  and  the  gloom  in  an  exquisite 
profusion  of  fluttering  conceits.  He  would  be  able  to  describe  it 
much  better,  with  its  tiny  cascades  and  jagged  precipices,  than  his 
friend  Lord  Byron  has  described  the  Fall  of  Terni,  who  makes  it, 
without  any  reason  that  I  can  find,  tortuous,  dark,  and  boiling  like  a 
witch's  cauldron.  On  the  contrary,  it  is  simple  and  majestic  in  its 
character,  a  clear  mountain-stream  that  pours  an  uninterrupted, 
lengthened  sheet  of  water  over  a  precipice  of  eight  hundred  feet,  in 
perpendicular  descent,  and  gracefully  winding  its  way  to  the  channel 
beyond,  while  on  one  side  the  stained  rock  rises  bare  and  stately  the 
whole  height,  and  on  the  other,  the  gradual  green  woods  ascend, 
moistened  by  the  ceaseless  spray,  and  lulled  by  the  roar  of  the 
waterfall,  as  the  ear  enjoys  the  sound  of  famous  poet's  verse.  If 
this  noble  and  interesting  object  have  a  fault,  it  is  that  it  is  too 
slender,  straight,  and  accompanied  with  too  few  wild  or  grotesque 
ornaments.  It  is  the  Doric,  or  at  any  rate  the  Ionic,  among  water- 
falls. It  has  nothing  of  the  texture  of  Lord  Byron's  terzains, 
twisted,  zigzag,  pent  up  and  struggling  for  a  vent,  broken  off  at 
the  end  of  a  line,  or  point  of  a  rock,  diving  under  ground,  or  out 
of  the  reader's  comprehension,  and  pieced  on  to  another  stanza  or 
shelving  rock. — Nature  has 

'  Poured  it  out  as  plain 
As  downright  Shippen,  or  as  old  Montaigne.' 

To  say  the  truth,  if  Lord  Byron  had  put  it  into  Don  Juan  instead  of 
Childe  Harold,  he  might  have  compared  the  part  which  her  ladyship 
has  chosen  to  perform  on  this  occasion  to  an  experienced  waiter 
pouring  a  bottle  of  ale  into  a  tumbler  at  a  tavern.  It  has  somewhat 
of  the  same  continued,  plump,  right-lined  descent.  It  is  not  frittered 
into  little  parts,  nor  contrasted  into  quaintness,  nor  tortured  into  fury. 
All  the  intricacy  and  contradiction  that  the  noble  Poet  ascribes  to 
it  belong  to  Tivoli ;  but  then  Tivoli  has  none  of  the  grandeur  or 
violence  of  the  description  in  Childe  Harold.  The  poetry  is  fine,  but 
not  like. 

As  I  have  got  so  far  on  my  way,  I  may  as  well  jump  the  inter- 
mediate space,  and  proceed  with  my  statistics  here,  as  there  was 
nothing  on  the  road  between  this  and  Rome  worth  mentioning,  except 
Narni  (ten  miles  from  Terni),  the  approach  to  which  overlooks  a 
fine,  bold,  woody,  precipitous  valley.     We  stopped  at  Terni  for  the 

258 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

express  purpose  of  visiting  the  Fall,  which  is  four  or  five  miles  from 
it.  The  road  is  excellent,  and  commands  a  succession  of  charming 
points  of  view.  You  must  pass  the  little  village  of  Papinio,  perched 
like  a  set  of  pigeon-houses  on  the  point  of  a  rock  about  halfway  up, 
which  has  been  battered  almost  in  pieces  by  French,  Austrians,  and 
others  at  different  times,  from  a  fort  several  hundred  feet  above  it, 
and  that  looks  directly  down  upon  the  road.  When  you  get  to  the 
top  of  the  winding  ascent,  and  immediately  before  you  turn  off  by  a 
romantic  little  path  to  the  waterfall,  you  see  the  ranges  of  the  Abruzzi 
and  the  frozen  top  of  the  Pie  de  Lupo.  Along  this  road  the  Austrian 
troops  marched  three  years  ago  to  the  support  of  good  government 
and  social  order  at  Naples.  The  prospect  of  the  cold  blue  mountain- 
tops,  and  other  prospects  which  the  sight  of  this  road  recalled,  chilled 
me,  and  I  hastened  down  the  side-path  to  lose,  in  the  roar  of  the 
Velino  tumbling  from  its  rocky  height,  and  the  wild  freedom  of 
nature,  my  recollection  of  tyranny  and  tyrants.  On  a  green  bank  far 
below,  so  as  to  be  just  discernible,  a  shepherd-boy  was  sleeping  under 
the  shadow  of  a  tree,  surrounded  by  his  flock,  enjoying  peace  and 
freedom,  scarce  knowing  their  names.  That 's  something — we  must 
wait  for  the  rest ! 

We  returned  to  the  inn  at  Terni  too  late  to  proceed  on  our  journey, 
and  were  thrust,  as  a  special  favour,  into  a  disagreeable  apartment. 
We  had  the  satisfaction,  however,  to  hear  the  united  voices  of  the 
passengers  by  two  vetturinos,  French  and  Italian  men  and  women, 
lifted  up  against  the  supper  and  wine  as  intolerably  bad.  The  general 
complaint  was,  that  having  paid  so  much  for  our  fare,  we  were  treated 
like  beggars — comme  des  gueux.  This  was  true  enough,  and  not 
altogether  unreasonable.  Let  no  one  who  can  help  it,  and  who 
travels  for  pleasure,  travel  by  a  vetturino.  You  are  treated  much 
in  the  same  manner  as  if  in  England  you  went  by  the  caravan 
or  the  waggon.  In  fact,  this  mode  of  conveyance  is  an  imposition 
on  innkeepers  and  the  public.  It  is  the  result  of  a  combination 
among  the  vetturino  owners,  who  bargain  to  provide  you  for  a 
certain  sum,  and  then  billet  you  upon  the  innkeepers  for  as  little 
as  they  can,  who  when  thus  obtruded  upon  them,  under  the 
guarantee  of  a  grasping  stage-coach  driver,  consider  you  as  com- 
mon property  or  prey,  receive  you  with  incivility,  keep  out  of 
the  way,  will  not  deign  you  an  answer,  stint  you  in  the  quantity  of 
your  provisions,  poison  you  by  the  quality,  order  you  into  their  worst 
apartments,  force  other  people  into  the  same  room  or  even  bed  with 
you,  keep  you  in  a  state  of  continual  irritation  and  annoyance  all  the 
time  you  are  in  the  house,  and  send  you  away  jaded  and  dissatisfied 
with  your  reception,  and  terrified  at  the  idea  of  arriving  at  the  next 

259 


NOTES   OF   A  JOURNEY 

place  of  refreshment,  for  fear  of  meeting  with  a  renewal  of  the  same 
contemptible  mortifications  and  petty  insults.  You  have  no  remedy  : 
if  you  complain  to  the  Vetturino,  he  says  it  is  the  fault  of  the  inn- 
keeper ;  if  you  remonstrate  with  the  innkeeper,  he  says  he  has  orders 
from  the  Vetturino  only  to  provide  certain  things.  It  is  of  little  use 
to  try  to  bribe  the  waiters ;  they  doubt  your  word,  and  besides,  do 
not  like  to  forego  the  privilege  of  treating  a  vetturino  passenger  as 
one.  It  is  best,  if  you  travel  in  this  manner,  to  pay  for  yourself; 
and  then  you  may  stand  some  chance  of  decent  accommodation.  I 
was  foolish  enough  to  travel  twice  in  this  manner,  and  pay  three 
Napoleons  a  day,  for  which  I  might  have  gone  post,  and  fared  in  the 
most  sumptuous  manner.  I  ought  to  add,  in  justice,  that  when  I 
have  escaped  from  the  guardianship  of  Monsieur  le  Vetturino  and  have 
stopped  at  inns  on  my  own  account,  as  was  the  case  at  Venice,  Milan, 
and  at  Florence  twice,  I  have  no  reason  to  complain  either  of  the 
treatment  or  the  expence.  As  to  economy,  it  is  in  vain  to  look  for 
it  in  travelling  in  Italy  or  at  an  hotel ;  and  if  you  succeed  in  procuring 
a  private  lodging  for  a  time,  besides  the  everlasting  trickery  and  cabal, 
you  are  likely  to  come  off  with  very  meagre  fare,  unless  you  can  eat 
Italian  dishes.  I  ought,  however,  to  repeat  what  I  believe  I  have 
said  before,  that  the  bread,  butter,  milk,  wine  and  poultry  that  you 
get  here  (even  ordinarily)  are  excellent,  and  that  you  may  also 
obtain  excellent  tea  and  coffee. 

We  proceeded  next  morning  (in  no  very  good  humour)  on  our 
way  to  Spoleto.  The  day  was  brilliant,  and  our  road  lay  through 
steep  and  narrow  defiles  for  several  hours.  The  sides  of  the  hills  on 
each  side  were  wild  and  woody  ;  indeed,  the  whole  ride  was  interest- 
ing, and  the  last  hill  before  we  came  to  Spoleto,  with  a  fine  monastery 
embosomed  in  its  thick  tufted  trees,  crowned  our  satisfaction  with  the 
journey.  Spoleto  is  a  handsome  town,  delightfully  situated,  and  has 
an  appearance  (somewhat  startling  in  Italy)  as  if  life  were  not  quite 
extinct  in  it.  It  stands  on  the  slope  of  a  range  of  the  Apennines, 
extending  as  far  as  Foligno  and  Perugia,  and  *  sees  and  is  seen '  to  a 
great  distance.  From  Perugia  in  particular  (an  interval  of  forty 
miles)  you  seem  as  if  you  could  put  your  hand  upon  it,  so  plain  does 
it  appear,  owing  to  the  contrast  between  the  white  stone-houses,  and 
the  dark  pine-groves  by  which  it  is  surrounded.  The  effect  of  this 
contrast  is  not  always  pleasant.  The  single  cottages  or  villas  scattered 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  towns  in  Italy,  often  look  like  dominos  or 
dice  spread  on  a  dark  green  cloth.  We  arrived  at  Foligno  early  in 
the  evening,  and  as  a  memorable  exception  to  the  rest  of  our  route, 
found  there  an  inn  equally  clean  and  hospitable.  From  the  windows 
of  our  room  we  could  see  the  young  people  of  the  town  walking  out 

260 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

in  a  fine  open  country,  to  breathe  the  clear  fresh  air,  and  the  priests 
sauntering  in  groups  and  enjoying  the  otium  cum  dignltate.  It  was  for 
some  monks  of  Foligno  that  Raphael  painted  his  inimitable  Madonna. 
We  turned  off  at  Assizi  to  view  the  triple  Franciscan  church  and 
monastery.  We  saw  the  picture  of  Christ  (shewn  by  some  nuns), 
that  used  to  smile  upon  St.  Francis  at  his  devotions ;  and  the  little 
chapel  in  the  plain  below,  where  he  preached  to  his  followers  six 
hundred  years  ago,  over  which  a  large  church  is  at  present  built,  like 
Popery  surmounting  Christianity.  The  church  on  the  top  of  the  hill, 
built  soon  after  his  death  in  honour  of  the  saint,  and  where  his  heart 
reposes,  is  a  curiosity  in  its  kind.  First,  two  churches  were  raised, 
one  on  the  top  of  the  other,  and  then  a  third  was  added  below  with 
some  difficulty,  by  means  of  excavations  in  the  rock.  The  last  boasts 
a  modern  and  somewhat  finical  mausoleum  or  shrine,  and  the  two 
first  are  ornamented  with  fresco  paintings  by  Giotto  and  Ghirlandaio, 
which  are  most  interesting  and  valuable  specimens  of  the  early  history 
of  the  art.  I  see  nothing  to  contemn  in  them — much  to  admire — fine 
heads,  simple  grouping,  a  knowledge  of  drawing  and  fore-shortening, 
and  dignified  attitudes  and  expressions,  some  of  which  Raphael  has 
not  disdained  to  copy,  though  he  has  improved  upon  them.  St. 
Francis  died  about  1220,  and  this  church  was  finished  and  ornamented 
with  these  designs  of  the  chief  actions  of  his  life,  within  forty  months 
afterwards ;  so  that  the  pictures  in  question  must  be  about  six  hundred 
years  old.  We  are  not,  however,  to  wonder  at  the  maturity  of  these 
productions  of  the  pencil ;  the  art  did  not  arise  out  of  barbarism  or 
nothing,  but  from  a  lofty  preconception  in  the  minds  of  those  who 
first  practised  it,  and  applied  it  to  purposes  of  devotion.  Even  the 
grace  and  majesty  of  Raphael  were,  I  apprehend,  but  emanations  of 
the  spirit  of  the  Roman  Catholic  religion,  and  existed  virtually  in  the 
minds  of  his  countrymen  long  before  and  after  he  transferred  them, 
with  consummate  skill,  to  the  canvass.  Not  a  Madonna  scrawled  on 
the  walls  near  Rome,  not  a  baby-house  figure  of  the  Virgin,  that  is 
out  of  character  and  costume,  or  that  is  not  imbued  with  an  expression 
of  resignation,  benignity,  and  purity.  We  were  shewn  these  different 
objects  by  a  young  priest,  who  explained  them  to  us  with  a.  graceful- 
ness of  manner,  and  a  mild  eloquence,  characteristic  of  his  order.  I 
forgot  to  mention,  in  the  proper  place,  that  I  was  quite  delighted  with 
the  external  deportment  of  the  ecclesiastics  in  Rome.  It  was  marked 
by  a  perfect  propriety,  decorum,  and  humanity,  from  the  highest  to 
the  lowest.  Not  the  slightest  look  or  gesture  to  remind  you  that  you 
were  foreigners  or  heretics — an  example  of  civility  that  is  far  from 
being  superfluous,  even  in  the  capital  of  the  Christian  world.  It  may 
be  said  that  this  is  art,  and  a  desire  to  gain  upon  the  good  opinion  of 

261 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

strangers.  Be  it  so,  but  it  must  be  allowed  that  it  is  calculated  to 
this  end.  Good  manners  have  this  advantage  over  good  morals,  that 
they  lie  more  upon  the  surface  ;  and  there  is  nothing,  I  own,  that 
inclines  me  to  think  so  well  of  the  understandings  or  dispositions  of 
others,  as  a  thorough  absence  of  all  impertinence.  I  do  not  think  they 
can  be  the  worst  people  in  the  world  who  habitually  pay  most  atten- 
tion to  the  feelings  of  others  ;  nor  those  the  best  who  are  endeavouring 
every  moment  to  hurt  them.  At  Perugia,  while  looking  at  some 
panels  in  a  church  painted  by  Pietro  Perugino,  we  met  with  a  young 
Irish  priest,  who  claimed  acquaintance  with  us  as  country-folks,  and 
recommended  our  staying  six  days,  to  see  the  ceremonies  and  finery 
attending  the  translation  of  the  deceased  head  of  his  order  from  the 
church  where  he  lay  to  his  final  resting-place.  We  were  obliged  by 
this  proposal,  but  declined  it.  It  was  curious  to  hear  English  spoken 
by  the  inmate  of  a  Benedictine  Monastery, — to  see  the  manners  of  an 
Italian  priest  engrafted  on  the  Irish  accent — to  think  that  distant 
countries  are  brought  together  by  agreement  in  religion — that  the 
same  country  is  rent  asunder  by  differences  in  it.  Man  is  certainly 
an  ideal  being,  whom  the  breath  of  an  opinion  wafts  from  Indus  to  the 
Pole,  and  who  is  ready  to  sacrifice  the  present  world  and  every  object 
in  it  for  a  reversion  in  the  skies !  Perugia  is  situated  on  a  lofty  hill, 
and  is  in  appearance  the  most  solid  mass  of  building  I  ever  beheld. 
It  commands  a  most  extensive  view  in  all  directions,  and  the  ascent  to 
it  is  precipitous  on  every  side.  Travelling  this  road  from  Rome  to 
Florence  is  like  an  eagle's  flight — from  hill-top  to  hill-top,  from 
towered  city  to  city,  and  your  eye  devours  your  way  before  you  over 
hill  or  plain.  We  saw  Cortona  on  our  right,  looking  over  its  wall  of 
ancient  renown,  conscious  of  its  worth,  not  obtruding  itself  on  super- 
ficial notice  ;  and  passed  through  Arezzo,  the  reputed  birth-place  of 
Petrarch.  All  the  way  we  were  followed  (hard  upon)  by  another 
Vetturino,  with  an  English  family,  and  we  had  a  scramble  whenever 
we  stopped  for  supper,  beds,  or  milk.  At  Incisa,  the  last  stage  before 
we  arrived  at  Florence,  an  intimation  was  conveyed  that  we  should 
give  up  our  apartments  in  the  inn,  and  seek  for  lodgings  elsewhere. 
This  modest  proposition  could  come  only  from  English  people,  who 
have  such  an  opinion  of  their  dormant  stock  of  pretended  good-nature, 
that  they  think  all  the  world  must  in  return  be  ready  to  give  up  their 
own  comforts  to  oblige  them.  We  had  two  French  gentlemen  in  the 
coach  with  us,  equally  well-behaved  and  well-informed,  and  two 
Italians  in  the  cabriolet,  as  good-natured  and  '  honest  as  the  skin 
between  their  brows.'  Near  Perugia  we  passed  the  celebrated  lake 
of  Thrasymene,  near  which  Hannibal  defeated  the  Roman  consul 
Flaminius.  It  struck  me  as  not  unlike  Windermere  in  character  and 
262 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

scenery,  but  I  have  seen  other  lakes  since,  which  have  driven  it  out 
of  my  head.  Florence  (the  city  of  flowers)  seemed  to  deserve  its 
name  as  we  entered  it  for  the  second  time  more  than  it  did  the  first. 
The  weather  had  been  cold  during  part  of  our  journey,  but  now  it 
had  changed  to  sultry  heat.  The  people  looked  exceedingly  plain 
and  hard-featured,  after  having  passed  through  the  Roman  States. 
They  have  the  look  of  the  Scotch  people,  only  fiercer  and  more 
ill-tempered. 


CHAPTER  XXII 

I  HAVE  already  described  the  road  between  Florence  and  Bologna. 
I  found  it  much  the  same  on  returning ;  for  barren  rocks  and 
mountains  undergo  little  alteration  either  in  summer  or  winter. 
Indeed,  of  the  two,  I  prefer  the  effect  in  the  most  dreary  season,  for 
it  is  then  most  complete  and  consistent  with  itself:  on  some  kinds  of 
scenery,  as  on  some  characters,  any  attempt  at  the  gay  and  pleasing 
sits  ill,  and  is  a  mere  piece  of  affectation.  There  is  so  far  a  distinc- 
tion between  the  Apennines  and  Alps,  that  the  latter  are  often  covered 
with  woods,  and  with  patches  of  the  richest  verdure,  and  are  capable 
of  all  the  gloom  of  winter  or  the  bloom  of  spring.  The  soil  of  the 
Apennines,  on  the  contrary,  is  as  dry  and  gritly  as  the  rocks  them- 
selves, being  nothing  but  a  collection  of  sand-heaps  and  ashes,  and 
mocks  at  every  idea  that  is  not  of  a  repulsive  and  disagreeable  kind. 
We  stopped  the  first  night  at  Traversa,  a  miserable  inn  or  almost 
hovel  on  the  road  side,  in  the  most  desolate  part  of  this  track  ;  and 
found  amidst  scenes,  which  the  imagination  and  the  pen  of  travellers 
have  peopled  with  ghastly  phantoms  and  the  assassin's  midnight 
revelry,  a  kind  but  simple  reception,  and  the  greatest  sweetness  of 
manners,  prompted  by  the  wish,  but  conscious  of  being  perhaps 
without  the  means  to  please.  Courtesy  in  cities  or  palaces  goes  for 
little,  means  little,  for  it  may  and  must  be  put  on  ;  in  the  cottage  or 
on  the  mountain-side  it  is  welcome  to  the  heart,  for  it  comes  from  it. 
It  then  has  its  root  in  unsophisticated  nature,  without  the  gloss  of  art, 
and  shews  us  the  original  goodness  of  the  soil  or  germ,  from  which 
human  affections  and  social  intercourse  in  all  their  ramifications 
spring.  A  little  boy  clung  about  its  mother,  wondering  at  the 
strangers ;  but  from  the  very  thoughts  of  novelty  and  distance, 
nestling  more  fondly  in  the  bosom  of  home.  What  is  the  map  of 
Europe,  what  all  the  glories  of  it,  what  the  possession  of  them,  to 
that  poor  little  fellow's  dream,  to  his  sidelong  glance  at  that  wide 
world  of  fancy  that  circles  his  native  rocks ! 

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NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

The  second  morning,  we  reached  the  last  of  the  Apennines  that 
overlook  Bologna,  and  saw  stretched  out  beneath  our  feet  a  different 
scene,  the  vast  plain  of  Lombardy,  and  almost  the  whole  of  the  North 
of  Italy,  like  a  rich  sea  of  boundless  verdure,  with  towns  and  villas 
spotting  it  like  the  sails  of  ships.  A  hazy  inlet  of  the  Adriatic 
appeared  to  the  right  (probably  the  Gulph  of  Comachio).  We 
strained  our  eyes  in  vain  to  catch  a  doubtful  view  of  the  Alps,  but 
they  were  still  sunk  below  the  horizon.  We  presently  descended 
into  this  plain  (which  formed  a  perfect  contrast  to  the  country  we  had 
lately  passed),  and  it  answered  fully  to  the  promise  it  had  given  us. 
We  travelled  for  days,  for  weeks  through  it,  and  found  nothing  but 
ripeness,  plenty,  and  beauty.  It  may  well  be  called  the  Garden  of 
Italy  or  of  the  World.  The  whole  way  from  Bologna  to  Venice, 
from  Venice  to  Milan,  it  is  literally  so.  But  I  anticipate. — We 
went  to  our  old  inn  at  Bologna,  which  we  liked  better  the  second 
time  than  the  first ;  and  had  just  time  to  snatch  a  glimpse  of  the 
Guides  and  Domenichinos  at  the  Academy,  which  gleamed  dark  and 
beautiful  through  the  twilight.  We  set  out  early  the  next  morning 
on  our  way  to  Venice,  turning  off  to  Ferrara.  It  was  a  fine  spring 
morning.  The  dew  was  on  the  grass,  and  shone  like  diamonds  in 
the  sun.  A  refreshing  breeze  fanned  the  light-green  odorous  branches 
of  the  trees,  which  spread  their  shady  screen  on  each  side  of  the  road, 
which  lay  before  us  as  straight  as  an  arrow  for  miles.  Venice  was  at 
the  end  of  it;  Padua,  Ferrara,  midway.  The  prospect  (both  to  the 
sense  and  to  the  imagination)  was  exhilarating;  and  we  enjoyed  it 
for  some  hours,  till  we  stopped  to  breakfast  at  a  smart-looking 
detached  inn  at  a  turning  of  the  road,  called,  I  think,  the  Albergo  di 
J^enexia.  This  was  one  of  the  pleasantest  places  we  came  to  during 
the  whole  of  our  route.  We  were  shewn  into  a  long  saloon,  into 
which  the  sun  shone  at  one  extremity,  and  we  looked  out  upon  the 
green  fields  and  trees  at  the  other.  There  were  flowers  in  the  room. 
An  excellent  breakfast  of  coffee,  bread,  butter,  eggs,  and  slices  of 
Bologna  sausages  was  served  up  with  neatness  and  attention.  An 
elderly  female,  thin,  without  a  cap,  and  with  white  thread-stockings, 
watched  at  the  door  of  a  chamber  not  far  from  us,  with  the  patience 
of  an  eastern  slave.  The  door  opened,  and  a  white  robe  was  handed 
out,  which  she  aired  carefully  over  a  chaffing-dish  with  mechanical 
indifference,  and  an  infinite  reduplication  of  the  same  folds.  It  was 
our  young  landlady  who  was  dressing  for  church  within,  and  who  at 
length  issued  out,  more  remarkable  for  the  correctness  of  her  costume 
than  the  beauty  of  her  person.  Some  rustics  below  were  playing  at 
a  game,  that  from  the  incessant  loud  jarring  noises  of  counting  that 
accompanied    it,    implied    equally    good    lungs    and    nerves    in    the 

264 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

performers  and  by-standers.  At  the  tinkling  of  a  village  bell,  all  was 
in  a  moment  silent,  and  the  entrance  of  a  little  chapel  was  crowded 
with  old  and  young,  kneeling  in  postures  of  more  or  less  earnest 
devotion.  We  walked  forward,  delighted  with  the  appearance  of  the 
country,  and  with  the  simple  manners  of  the  inhabitants ;  nor  could 
we  have  proceeded  less  than  four  or  five  miles  along  an  excellent 
footpath,  but  under  a  broiling  sun,  before  we  saw  any  signs  of  our 
Vetturino,  who  was  willing  to  take  this  opportunity  of  easing  his 
horses — a  practice  common  with  those  sort  of  gentry.  Instead  of  a 
fellow-feeling  with  you,  you  find  an  instinctive  inclination  in  persons 
of  this  class  all  through  Italy  to  cheat  and  deceive  you :  the  more 
easy  or  cordial  you  are  with  them,  the  greater  is  their  opinion  of  your 
foUy  and  their  own  cunning,  and  the  more  are  they  determined  to 
repel  or  evade  any  advances  to  a  fair  understanding :  threaten,  or 
treat  them  with  indignity,  and  you  have  some  check  over  them  ;  relax 
the  reins  a  moment,  and  they  are  sure  to  play  you  some  scurvy  trick. 

At  Ferrara  we  were  put  on  short  allowance,  and  as  we  found 
remonstrance  vain,  we  submitted  in  silence.  We  were  the  more 
mortified  at  this  treatment,  as  we  had  begun  to  hope  for  better  things  ; 
but  Mr.  Henry  Waister,  our  Commissary  on  the  occasion,  was  deter- 
mined to  make  a  good  thing  of  his  three  Napoleons  a-day  ;  he  had 
strained  a  point  in  procuring  us  a  tolerable  supper  and  breakfast  at  the 
two  last  stages,  which  must  serve  for  some  time  to  come ;  and  as  he 
would  not  pay  for  our  dinner,  the  landlord  would  not  let  us  have  one, 
and  there  the  matter  rested.  We  walked  out  in  the  evening,  and 
found  Ferrara  enchanting.  Of  all  the  places  I  have  seen  in  Italy, 
it  is  the  one  by  far  I  should  most  covet  to  live  in.  It  is  the 
ideal  of  an  Italian  city,  once  great,  now  a  shadow  of  itself.  Which- 
ever way  you  turn,  you  are  struck  with  picturesque  beauty  and 
faded  splendours,  but  with  nothing  squalid,  mean,  or  vulgar.  The 
grass  grows  in  the  well-paved  streets.  You  look  down  long  avenues 
of  buildings,  or  of  garden  walls,  with  summer-houses  or  fruit-trees 
projecting  over  them,  and  airy  palaces  with  dark  portraits  gleaming 
through  the  grated  windows — you  turn,  and  a  chapel  bounds  your 
view  one  way,  a  broken  arch  another,  at  the  end  of  the  vacant, 
glimmering,  fairy  perspective.  You  are  in  a  dream,  in  the  heart  of 
a  romance ;  you  enjoy  the  most  perfect  solitude,  that  of  a  city  which 
was  once  filled  with  '  the  busy  hum  of  men,'  and  of  which  the 
tremulous  fragments  at  every  step  strike  the  sense,  and  call  up  re- 
flection. In  short,  nothing  is  to  be  seen  of  Ferrara,  but  the  remains, 
graceftJ  and  romantic,  of  what  it  was — no  sordid  object  intercepts 
or  sullies  the  retrospect  of  the  past — it  is  not  degraded  and  patched 
up  like  Rome,  with  upstart  improvements,  with  earthenware  and  oil- 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

shops  ;  it  is  a  classic  vestige  of  antiquity,  drooping  into  peaceful  decay, 

a  sylvan  suburb — 

'Where  buttress,  wall  and  tower 
Seem  fading  fast  away 
From  human  thoughts  and  purposes, 
To  yield  to  some  transforming  power. 
And  blend  with  the  surrounding  trees.' 

Here  Ariosto  lived — here  Tasso  occupied  first  a  palace,  and  then  a 
dungeon.  Verona  has  even  a  more  sounding  name ;  boasts  a  finer 
situation,  and  contains  the  tomb  of  Juliet.  But  the  same  tender 
melancholy  grace  does  not  hang  upon  its  walls,  nor  hover  round  its 
precincts  as  round  those  of  Ferrara,  inviting  to  endless  leisure  and 
pensive  musing.  Ferrara,  while  it  was  an  independent  state,  was  a 
flourishing  and  wealthy  city,  and  contained  70,000  inhabitants ;  but 
from  the  time  it  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Popes,  in  1597,  it 
declined,  and  it  has  now  little  more  than  an  historical  and  poetical 
being. 

From  Ferrara  we  proceeded  through  Rovigo  to  Padua  the  Learned, 
where  we  were  more  fortunate  in  our  inn,  and  where,  in  the  fine  open 
square  at  the  entrance,  I  first  perceived  the  rage  for  vulgar  and 
flaunting  statuary,  which  distinguishes  the  Lombardo-Venetian  States. 
The  traveller  to  Venice  (who  goes  there  to  see  the  masterpieces  of 
Titian  or  Palladio's  admired  designs),  runs  the  gauntlet  all  the  way 
along  at  every  town  or  villa  he  passes,  of  the  most  clumsy,  affected, 
paltry,  sprawling  figures,  cut  in  stone,  that  ever  disgraced  the  chisel. 
Even  their  crucifixes  and  common  Madonnas  are  in  bad  taste  and 
proportion.  This  inaptitude  for  the  representation  of  forms  in  a 
people,  whose  eye  for  colours  transcended  that  of  all  the  world  besides, 
is  striking  as  it  is  curious  :  and  it  would  be  worth  the  study  of  a  man's 
whole  life  to  give  a  true  and  satisfactory  solution  of  the  mystery. 
Padua,  though  one  of  the  oldest  towns  in  Italy,  is  still  a  place 
of  some  resort  and  bustle  ;  among  other  causes,  from  the  number  of 
Venetian  families  who  are  in  the  habit  of  spending  the  summer  months 
there.  Soon  after  leaving  it,  you  begin  to  cross  the  canals  and  rivers 
which  intersect  this  part  of  the  country  borderiiig  upon  the  sea,  and 
for  some  miles  you  follow  the  course  of  the  Brenta  along  a  flat,  dusty, 
and  unprofitable  road.  This  is  a  period  of  considerable  and  painful 
suspense,  till  you  arrive  at  Fusina,  where  you  are  put  into  a  boat  and 
rowed  down  one  of  the  Lagunes,  where  over  banks  of  high  rank  grass 
and  reeds,  and  between  solitary  sentry-boxes  at  different  intervals,  you 
see  Venice  rising  from  the  sea.  For  an  hour  and  a  half,  that  it  takes 
you  to  cross  from  the  last  point  of  land  to  this  Spouse  of  the  Adriatic, 
its  long  line  of  spires,  towers,  churches,  wharfs  is  stretched  along  the 

266 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

water's  edge,  and  you  view  it  with  a  mixture  of  awe  and  incredulity. 
A  city  built  in  the  air  would  be  something  still  more  wonderful ;  but 
any  other  must  yield  the  palm  to  this  for  singularity  and  imposing 
effect.  If  it  were  on  the  firm  land,  it  would  rank  as  one  of  the  first 
cities  in  Europe  for  magnificence,  size,  and  beauty ;  as  it  is,  it  is 
without  a  rival.  I  do  not  know  what  Lord  Byron  and  Lady  Morgan 
could  mean  by  quarrelling  about  the  question  who  first  called  Venice 
'  the  Rome  of  the  sea  ' — since  it  is  perfectly  unique  in  its  kind.  If 
a  parallel  must  be  found  for  it,  it  is  more  like  Genoa  shoved  into  the 
sea.  Genoa  stands  on  the  sea,  this  In  it.  The  effect  is  certainly 
magical,  dazzling,  perplexing.  You  feel  at  first  a  little  giddy  :  you 
are  not  quite  sure  of  your  footing  as  on  the  deck  of  a  vessel.  You 
enter  its  narrow,  cheerful  canals,  and  find  that  instead  of  their  being 
scooped  out  of  the  earth,  you  are  gliding  amidst  rows  of  palaces  and 
under  broad-arched  bridges,  piled  on  the  sea-green  wave.  You  begin 
to  think  that  you  must  cut  your  liquid  way  in  this  manner  through 
the  whole  city,  and  use  oars  instead  of  feet.  You  land,  and  visit 
quays,  squares,  market-places,  theatres,  churches,  halls,  palaces ; 
ascend  tall  towers,  and  stroll  through  shady  gardens,  without  being 
once  reminded  that  you  are  not  on  terra  jlrma.  The  early  in- 
habitants of  this  side  of  Italy,  driven  by  Attila  and  his  hordes  of 
Huns  from  the  land,  sought  shelter  in  the  sea,  built  there  for  safety 
and  liberty,  laid  the  first  foundations  of  Venice  in  the  rippling  wave, 
and  commerce,  wealth,  luxury,  arts,  and  crimson  conquest  crowned 
the  growing  Republic  ; — 

'  And  Ocean  smil'd, 
Well  pleased  to  see  his  wondrous  child.' 

Man,  proud  of  his  amphibious  creation,  spared  no  pains  to  aggrandize 
and  embellish  it,  even  to  extravagance  and  excess.  The  piles  and 
blocks  of  wood  on  which  it  stands  are  brought  from  the  huge  forests 
at  Treviso  and  Cadore  :  the  stones  that  girt  its  circumference,  and 
prop  its  walls,  are  dug  from  the  mountains  of  Istria  and  Dalmatia  : 
the  marbles  that  inlay  its  palace-floors  are  hewn  from  the  quarries 
near  Verona.  Venice  is  loaded  with  ornament,  like  a  rich  city- 
heiress  with  jewels.  It  seems  the  natural  order  of  things.  Her 
origin  was  a  wonder  :  her  end  is  to  surprise.  The  strong,  implanted 
tendency  of  her  genius  must  be  to  the  showy,  the  singular,  the 
fantastic.  Herself  an  anomaly,  she  reconciles  contradictions,  liberty 
with  aristocracy,  commerce  with  nobility,  the  want  of  titles  with  the 
pride  of  birth  and  heraldry.  A  violent  birth  in  nature,  she  lays 
greedy,  perhaps  ill-advised,  hands  on  all  the  artificial  advantages  that 
can  supply  her  original  defects.     Use  turns  to  gaudy  beauty ;  extreme 

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NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

hardship  to  intemperance  in  pleasure.  From  the  level  uniform 
expanse  that  forever  encircles  her,  she  would  obviously  affect  the 
aspiring  in  forms,  the  quaint,  the  complicated,  relief  and  projection. 
The  richness  and  foppery  of  her  architecture  arise  from  this :  its 
stability  and  excellence  probably  from  another  circumstance  counter- 
acting this  tendency  to  the  buoyant  and  fluttering,  -viz.,  the  necessity 
of  raising  solid  edifices  on  such  slippery  foundations,  and  of  not 
playing  tricks  with  stone-walls  upon  the  water.  Her  eye  for  colours 
and  costume  she  would  bring  with  conquest  from  the  East.  The 
spirit,  intelligence,  and  activity  of  her  men,  she  would  derive  from 
their  ancestors:  the  grace,  the  glowing  animation  and  bounding  step 
of  her  women,  from  the  sun  and  mountain-breeze  !  The  want  of 
simplicity  and  severity  in  Venetian  taste  seems  owing  to  this,  that  all 
here  is  factitious  and  the  work  of  art :  redundancy  again  is  an 
attribute  of  commerce,  whose  eye  is  gross  and  large,  and  does  not 
admit  of  the  too  much ;  and  as  to  irregularity  and  want  of  fixed 
principles,  we  may  account  by  analogy  at  least  for  these,  from  that 
element  of  which  Venice  is  the  nominal  bride,  to  which  she  owes  her 
all,  and  the  very  essence  of  which  is  caprice,  uncertainty,  and 
vicissitude  ! 

'  And  now  from  out  the  watery  floor 

A  city  rose,  and  well  she  wore 

Her  beauty,  and  stupendous  walls, 

And  towers  that  touched  the  stars,  and  halls 

Pillar'd  with  whitest  marble,  whence 

Palace  on  lofty  palace  sprung : 

And  over  all  rich  gardens  hung, 

Where,  amongst  silver  water-falls. 

Cedars  and  spice-trees,  and  green  bowers, 

And  sweet  winds  playing  with  all  the  flowers 

Of  Persia  and  of  Araby, 

Walked  princely  shapes  ;  some  with  an  air 

Like  warriors ;  some  like  ladies  fair 

Listening 

In  supreme  magnificence.' 

This,  which  is  a  description  of  a  dream  of  Babylon  of  old,  by  a  living 
poet,  is  realized  almost  literally  in  modern  Venice. 


CHAPTER    XXIII 

I  NEVER  saw  palaces  anywhere  but  at  Venice.     Those  at   Rome  are 

dungeons   compared   to  them.     They  generally  come  down   to  the 

water's  edge,  and  as  there  are  canals  on  each  side  of  them,  you  see 
268 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

ihtm  four-square.  The  views  by  Canaletti  are  very  like,  both  for  the 
effect  of  the  buildings  and  the  hue  of  the  water.  The  principal  are 
by  Palladio,  Longhena,  and  Sansovino.  They  are  massy,  elegant, 
well-proportioned,  costly  in  materials,  profuse  of  ornament.  Perhaps 
if  they  were  raised  above  the  water's  edge  on  low  terraces  (as  some 
of  them  are),  the  appearance  of  comfort  and  security  would  be 
greater,  though  the  architectural  daring,  the  poetical  miracle  would 
appear  less.  As  it  is,  they  seem  literally  to  be  suspended  in  the 
water. — The  richest  in  interior  decoration  that  I  saw,  was  the 
Grimani  Palace,  which  answered  to  all  the  imaginary  conditions  of 
this  sort  of  thing.  Aladdin  might  have  exchanged  his  for  it,  and 
given  his  lamp  into  the  bargain.  The  floors  are  of  marble,  the 
tables  of  precious  stones,  the  chairs  and  curtains  of  rich  silk,  the 
walls  covered  with  looking-glasses,  and  it  contains  a  cabinet  of  in- 
valuable antique  sculpture,  and  some  of  Titian's  finest  portraits.  I 
never  knew  the  practical  amount  to  the  poetical,  or  furniture  seem  to 
grow  eloquent  but  in  this  instance.  The  rooms  were  not  too  large 
for  comfort  neither;  for  space  is  a  consideration  at  Venice.  All 
that  it  wanted  of  an  Eastern  Palace  was  light  and  air,  with  distant 
vistas  of  hill  and  grove.  A  genealogical  tree  of  the  family  was  hung 
up  in  one  of  the  rooms,  beginning  with  the  founder  in  the  ninth 
century,  and  ending  with  the  present  representative  of  it ;  and  one  of 
the  portraits,  by  Titian,  was  of  a  Doge  of  the  family,  looking  just 
like  an  ugly,  spiteful  old  woman ;  but  with  a  truth  of  nature,  and  a 
force  of  character  that  no  one  ever  gave  but  he.  I  saw  no  other 
mansion  equal  to  this.  The  Pisani  is  the  next  to  it  for  elegance  and 
splendour ;  and  from  its  situation  on  the  Grand  Canal,  it  admits  a 
flood  of  bright  day  through  glittering  curtains  of  pea-green  silk,  into 
a  noble  saloon,  enriched  with  an  admirable  family-picture  by  Paul 
Veronese,  with  heads  equal  to  Titian  for  all  but  the  character  of 
thought. 

Close  to  this  is  the  Barberigo  Palace,  in  which  Titian  lived,  and 
in  which  he  died,  with  his  painting-room  just  in  the  state  in  which  he 
left  it.  It  is  hung  round  with  pictures,  some  of  his  latest  works, 
such  as  the  Magdalen  and  the  Salvator  Mundi  (which  are  common  in 
prints),  and  with  an  unfinished  sketch  of  St.  Sebastian,  on  which  he 
was  employed  at  the  time  of  his  death.  Titian  was  ninety-nine  when 
he  died,  and  was  at  last  carried  off  by  the  plague.  My  guide 
who  was  enthusiastic  on  the  subject  of  Venetian  art,  would  not  allow 
any  falling-off  in  these  latest  efforts  of  his  mighty  pencil,  but  repre- 
sented him  as  prematurely  cut  off  in  the  height  of  his  career.  He 
knew,  he  said,  an  old  man,  who  had  died  a  year  ago,  at  one  hundred 
and  twenty.     The  Venetians  may  still  live  to  be  old,  but  they  do  not 

269 


NOTES   OF  A   JOURNEY 

paint  like  Titian !  The  Magdalen  is  imposing  and  expressive,  but 
the  colouring  is  tinted  (quite  different  from  Titian's  usual  simplicity) 
and  it  has  a  flaccid,  meretricious,  affectedly  lachrymose  appearance, 
which  I  by  no  means  like.  There  is  a  slabbery  freedom  or  a  stiff 
grandeur  about  most  of  these  productions,  which,  I  think,  savoured  of 
an  infirm  hand  and  eye,  accompanied  with  a  sense  of  it.  Titian,  it  is 
said,  thought  he  improved  to  the  last,  and  wished  to  get  possession  of 
his  former  pictures,  to  paint  them  over  again,  upon  broader  and  more 
scientific  principles,  as  some  authors  have  wished  to  re-write  their 
works :  there  was  a  small  model  of  him  in  wax,  done  by  a  con- 
temporary artist  in  his  extreme  old  age,  shewn  in  London  a  year  or 
two  ago,  with  the  black  velvet  cap,  the  green  gown,  and  a  white 
sleeve  appearing  from  under  it,  against  a  pale,  shrivelled  hand.  The 
arrangement  of  colouring  was  so  truly  characteristic,  that  it  was 
probably  dictated  by  himself.  It  may  be  interesting  to  artists  to  be 
told,  that  the  room  in  the  Barberigo  Palace  (said  to  be  his  painting- 
room)  has  nearly  a  southern  aspect.  There  are  some  other  indifferent 
pictures  hanging  in  the  room,  by  painters  before  his  time,  probably 
some  that  he  had  early  in  his  possession,  and  kept  longest  for  that 
reason.  It  is  an  event  in  one's  life  to  find  one's-self  in  Titian's 
painting-room.  Yet  it  did  not  quite  answer  to  my  expectations — a 
hot  sun  shone  into  the  room,  and  the  gondola  in  which  we  came 
was  unusually  close — neither  did  I  stoop  and  kiss  the  stone  which 
covers  his  dust,  though  I  have  worshipped  him  on  this  side  of 
idolatry  ! 

'  CI  giace  il  gran  Titiano  di  Vecelli, 
Emulator  di  Zeusi  e  di  gl'Apelli.' 

This  is  the  inscription  on  his  tomb  in  the  church  of  the  Frati.  I 
read  it  twice  over,  but  it  would  not  do.  Why  grieve  for  the 
immortals  ?  One  is  not  exactly  one's-self  on  such  occasions,  and 
enthusiasm  has  its  intermittent  and  stubborn  fits ;  besides,  mine  is,  at 
present,  I  suspect,  a  kind  of  July  shoot,  that  must  take  its  rise  from  the 
stock  of  former  impressions.  It  spread  aloft  on  the  withered  branches 
of  the  St.  Peter  Martyr,  and  shot  out  more  kindly  still  from 
seeing  three  pictures  of  his,  close  together,  at  the  house  of  Signer 
Manfrini  (a  Venetian  tobacconist),  an  elaborate  Portrait  of  his  friend 
Ariosto — sharp-featured  and  tawny-coloured,  with  a  light  Morisco 
look — a  bronzed  duplicate  of  the  Four  Ages  at  the  Marquess  of 
Stafford's — and  his  Mistress  (which  is  in  the  Louvre)  introduced 
into  a  composition  with  a  gay  cavalier  and  a  page.  I  was  glad  to  see 
her  in  company  so  much  fitter  for  her  than  her  old  lover ;  and 
besides,  the  varied  grouping  gave  new  life  and  reality  to  this  charm- 
270 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

ing  vision.  The  two  last  pictures  are  doubtfully  ascribed  to 
Giorgioni,  and  this  critical  equivoque  was  a  source  of  curiosity  and 
wonder.  Giorgioni  is  the  only  painter  with  respect  to  whom  this 
could  be  made  a  question  (the  distinction  between  Titian  and  the 
other  painters  of  the  Venetian  school,  Tintoret  and  Paul  Veronese, 
is  broad  and  palpable  enough) — and  for  myself,  I  incline  to  attribute 
the  last  of  the  three  chef  (Pxwures  above  enumerated  to  Giorgioni. 
The  difference,  it  appears  to  me,  may  be  thus  stated.  There  is  more 
glow  and  animation  in  Giorgioni  than  in  Titian.  He  is  of  a  franker  and 
more  genial  spirit.  Titian  has  more  subtilty  and  meaning,  Giorgioni 
more  life  and  youthful  blood.  The  feeling  in  the  one  is  suppressed  ; 
in  the  other,  it  is  overt  and  transparent.  Titian's  are  set  portraits, 
with  the  smallest  possible  deviation  from  the  straight  line  :  they  look  as 
if  they  were  going  to  be  shot,  or  to  shoot  somebody.  Giorgioni,  in 
what  I  have  seen  of  his  pictures,  as  the  Gaston  de  Foix,  the  Music- 
piece  at  Florence,  &c.  is  full  of  inflection  and  contrast;  there  is 
seldom  a  particle  of  it  in  Titian.  An  appearance  of  silence,  a 
tendency  to  still-life,  pervades  Titian's  portraits  ;  in  Giorgioni's  there 
is  a  bending  attitude,  and  a  flaunting  air,  as  if  floating  in  gondolas  or 
listening  to  music.  For  all  these  reasons  (perhaps  slenderly  put 
together)  I  am  disposed  to  think  the  portrait  of  the  young  man  in 
the  picture  alluded  to  is  by  Giorgioni,  from  the  flushed  cheek,  the 
good-natured  smile,  and  the  careless  attitude  ;  and  for  the  same  reason, 
I  think  it  likely  that  even  the  portrait  of  the  lady  is  originally  his, 
and  that  Titian  copied  and  enlarged  the  design  into  the  one  we  see 
in  the  Louvre,  for  the  head  (supposed  to  be  of  himself,  in  the  back- 
ground) is  middle-aged,  and  Giorgioni  died  while  Titian  was  yet 
young.  The  question  of  priority  in  this  case  is  a  very  nice  one ; 
and  it  would  be  curious  to  ascertain  the  truth  by  tradition  or  private 
documents  of  any  kind. 

I  teazed  my  •valet  de  place  (Mr.  Andrew  Wyche,  a  Tyrolese,  a 
very  pleasant,  companionable,  and  patriotic  sort  of  person)  the  whole 
of  the  first  morning  at  every  fresh  landing  or  embarkation  by  asking, 
'  But  are  we  going  to  see  the  Saint  Peter  Martyr  ? '  When  we 
reached  the  Church  of  Saint  John  and  Saint  Paul,  the  light  did  not 
serve,  and  we  got  reprimanded  by  the  priest  for  turning  our  backs  on 
the  host,  in  our  anxiety  to  find  a  proper  point  of  view.  We  returned 
to  the  charge  at  five  in  the  afternoon,  when  the  light  fell  upon  it 
through  a  high-arched  Gothic  window,  and  it  came  out  in  all  its 
pristine  glory,  with  its  rich,  embrowned,  overshadowing  trees,  its 
nobly-drawn  heroic  figures,  its  blood-stained  garments,  its  flowers  and 
trailing  plants,  and  that  cold  convent-spire  rising  in  the  distance 
amidst  the  sapphire  mountains  and  the  golden  sky.     I  found  every 

271 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

thing  in  its  place  and  as  I  expected.  Yet  I  am  unwilling  to  say  that 
I  saw  it  through  my  former  impressions :  this  picture  suffices  to 
itself,  and  fills  the  mind  without  an  effort;  for  it  contains  all  the 
mighty  world  of  landscape  and  history,  grandeur  and  breadth  of  form 
with  the  richest  depth  of  colouring,  an  expression  characteristic, 
powerful,  that  cannot  be  mistaken,  conveying  th?  scene  at  the 
moment,  a  masterly  freedom  and  unerring  truth  of  execution,  and  a 
subject  as  original  as  it  is  stately  and  romantic.  It  is  the  foremost  of 
Titian's  productions,  and  exhibits  the  most  extraordinary  specimen 
of  his  varied  powers.  Most  probably,  as  a  picture,  it  is  the  finest  in 
the  world ;  or  if  I  cannot  say  it  is  the  picture  which  I  would  the 
soonest  have  painted,  it  is  at  least  the  one  which  I  would  the  soonest 
have.  It  is  a  rich  feast  to  the  eye,  '  where  no  crude  surfeit  reigns.' 
As  an  instance  of  the  difference  between  Titian  and  Raphael,  you 
here  see  the  figures  from  below,  and  they  stand  out  with  noble 
grandeur  of  effect  against  the  sky  ;  Raphael  would  have  buried  them 
under  the  horizon,  or  stuck  them  against  the  landscape,  without  relief 
or  motion.  So  much  less  knowledge  had  he  of  the  picturesque ! 
Again,  I  do  not  think  Raphael  could  have  given  the  momentary 
expression  of  sudden,  ghastly  terror,  or  the  hurried,  disorderly 
movements  of  the  flying  Monk,  or  the  entire  prostration  of  the  other 
(like  a  rolling  ruin)  so  well  as  Titian.  The  latter  could  not,  I 
know,  raise  a  sentiment  to  its  height  like  the  former  ;  but  Raphael's 
expressions  and  attitudes  were  (so  to  speak)  the  working  out  of '  fore- 
gone conclusions,'  not  the  accidental  fluctuations  of  mind  or  matter 
— were  final  and  fixed,i  not  salient  or  variable.  I  observed,  in  look- 
ing closer,  that  the  hinder  or  foreshortened  leg  of  the  flying  monk 
rests  upon  the  edge  of  a  bank  of  earth,  from  which  he  is  descending. 
This  explains  the  action  of  the  part  better,  but  I  doubt  whether  this 
idea  of  inequality  and  interruption  from  the  broken  nature  of  the 
ground  is  an  addition  to  the  feeling  of  precipitate  fear  and  staggering 
perplexity  in  the  mind  of  the  person  represented.  This  may  be  an 
hypercriticism.  The  colouring  of  the  foremost  leg  of  this  figure  is 
sufficient  to  prove  that  the  utter  paleness  of  the  rest  of  it  is  from  its 
having  faded  in  the  course  of  time.  The  colour  of  the  face  in  this 
and  the  other  monk  is  the  same  as  it  was  twenty  years  ago ;  it  has 
sustained  no  injury  in  that  time.  But  for  the  sun-burnt,  well-baked, 
robust  tone  of  the  flesh-colour,  commend  me  to  the  leg  and  girded 
thigh  of  the  robber.  What  a  difference  between  this  and  Raphael's 
brick-dust ! — I  left  this  admirable  performance  with  regret ;  yet  I  do 
not  see  why  ;  for  I  have  it  present  with  me,  '  in  my  mind's  eye,' 

^  See    even    the    Ananias,    Elymas,    and    others,    which    might    be    thought 
exceptions. 
272 


THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

and  swear,  in  the  wildest  scenes  of  the  Alps,  that  the  St.  Peter 
Martyr  is  finer.  That,  and  the  Man  in  the  Louvre,  are  my  standards 
of  perfection  ;  my  taste  may  be  wrong ;  nay,  even  ridiculous — yet 
such  it  is. 

The  picture  of  the  Assumption,  at  the  Academy  of  Painting  at 
Venice,  which  was  discovered  but  the  other  day  under  a  load  of  dirt 
and  varnish,  is  cried  up  as  even  superior  to  the  St.  Peter :  it  is  indeed 
a  more  extraordinary  picture  for  the  artist  to  have  painted ;  but  for 
that  very  reason  it  is  neither  so  perfect  nor  so  valuable.      Raphael 
could  not  paint  landscape ;   Titian  could  hardly  paint  history  without 
the  help  of  landscape.     A  background  was  necessary  to  him,  like 
music  to  a  melodrame.     He  had  in  this  picture  attempted  the  style  of 
Raphael,  and  has   succeeded  and  even  failed — to  admiration.     He 
has  given  the  detached  figures  of  the  Roman  school,  the  contrasted, 
uniform  colours  of  their  draperies,  the  same  determined  outline,  no 
breaking  of  the  colours  or  play  of  light  and  shade,  and  has  aimed  at 
the    same   elevation   and   force    of   expression.     The   drawing    has 
nearly  the  same  firmness  with  more  scope,  the  colouring  is  richer  and 
almost  as  hard,  the  attitudes  are  imposing   and  significant,  and  the 
features  handsome — what  then  is  wanting  ?     That  glow  of  heaven- 
ward devotion  bent  on  ideal  objects,  and  taking  up  its  abode  in  the 
human  form  and  countenance  as  in  a  shrine ;  that  high  and  abstracted 
expression,  that  outward  and  visible  sign  of  an  inward  and  invisible 
grace,   which   Raphael  alone   could    give  in   its  utmost    purity  and 
intensity.     One  glimpse  of  the  Crowning  of  the  Virgin  in  the  Vatican 
is  worth  it  all — lifts  the  mind  nigher  to  the  subject,  dissolves  it  in 
greater    sweetness,    sinks   it  in   deeper  thoughtfulness.      The  eager 
headlong  enthusiasm  of  the  Apostle  to  the  right  in  a  green  mantle  is 
the  best ;  the  lambent  eyes  and  suffused  glow  of  the  St.   John   are 
only  the  indications   of  rosy   health,   and  youthful   animation ;  the 
Virgin  is  a  well-formed  rustic  beauty  with  a  little  affectation,  and  the 
attitude  of  the  Supreme  Being  is  extravagant  and  distorted.     Raphael 
could  have  painted  this  subject,  as  to  its  essential  qualities,  better ; 
he  could  not  have  done  the  St.  Peter  Martyr  in  any  respect  so  well. 
I  like  Titian's  Martyrdom  of  St.  Lawrence  (notwithstanding  the 
horror  of  the  subject)   better  than  the  Assumption,  for  its  charac- 
teristic expression,  foreshortening,  and  fine  mellow  masses  of  light  and 
shade.     Titian  could  come  nearer  the  manner  of  Michael  Angelo 
than  that  of  Raphael,  from  an  eye  for  what  was  grand  and  impres- 
sive in   outward   form  and  position,  as  his  frescoes  of  Prometheus, 
Cain  and  Abel,  and  another  grotesque  and  gigantic  subject  on  the 
ceiling  of  one  of  the  churches,  shew.     These,  in  picturesque  group- 
ing, in  muscular    relief,    and    vastness    of  contour,  surpass  Michael 
VOL.  IX.  :  s  273 


NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

Angelo's  figures  in  the  Last  Judgment,  however  they  may  fall  short 
of  them  in  anatomical  knowledge  or  accuracy.  I  also  was  exceed- 
ingly delighted  with  the  Salutation  of  the  Virgin  at  the  Academy, 
which  is  shewn  as  one  of  his  masterpieces,  for  the  mixture  of  airy 
scenic  effect  with  the  truth  of  individual  portraiture.  The  churches 
and  public  buildings  here  bear  ample  testimony  to  the  powers  of 
Titian's  historic  pencil,  though  I  did  not  see  enough  of  his  portraits  in 
private  collections,  of  which  I  had  hoped  to  take  my  fill.  In  the  large 
hall  of  the  Academy  of  Painting  are  also  the  line  picture  of  the  Miracle 
of  Saint  Mark  by  Tintoret,  an  inimitable  representation  of  a  religious 
and  courtly  ceremony  by  Paris  Bourbon  (inimitable  for  the  light, 
rich,  gauze-colouring,  and  magical  effect  of  the  figures  in  perspective), 
and  several  others  of  vast  merit  as  well  as  imposing  dimensions. 
The  Doge's  Palace  and  the  Council-Chamber  of  the  Senate  are 
adorned  with  the  lavish  performances  of  Tintoret  and  Paul  Veronese ; 
and  in  the  allegorical  figures  in  the  ceiling  of  the  Council-Chamber,  and 
in  the  splendid  delineation  of  a  Doge  returning  thanks  to  the  Virgin 
for  some  victory  over  the  Infidels,  which  occupies  the  end  of  it,  I 
think  the  last-named  painter  has  reached  the  top  of  his  own  and 
of  Venetian  art.  As  an  art  of  decoration,  addressing  itself  to  the 
eye,  to  the  vain  or  voluptuous  part  of  our  constitution,  it  cannot  be 
carried  farther.  Of  all  pictures  this  Thanksgiving  is  the  most 
dazzling,  the  most  florid.  A  rainbow  is  not  more  rich  in  hues,  a 
bubble  that  glitters  in  the  sun  is  not  more  light  and  glossy,  a  bed  of 
tulips  is  not  more  gaudy.  A  flight  of  angels  with  rosy  hues  and 
winged  glories  connects  the  heavenly  and  the  earthly  groups  like  a 
garland  of  blushing  flowers.  The  skill  and  delicacy  of  this  com- 
position is  equal  to  its  brilliancy  of  effect.  His  marriage  of  Cana 
(another  wonderful  performance)  is  still  at  Paris :  it  was  formerly  in 
the  Refectory  of  the  church  of  St.  Giorgio  Maggiore,  on  an  island  on 
the  opposite  side  of  the  harbour,  which  is  well  worth  attention  for  the 
architecture  by  Palladio  and  the  altar-piece  in  bronze  by  John  of 
Bologna,  containing  a  number  of  figures  (as  it  appears  to  me)  of  the 
most  masterly  design  and  execution. 

I  have  thus  hastily  run  through  what  struck  me  as  most  select 
in  fine  art  in  this  celebrated  city.  To  enumerate  every  thing  would 
be  endless.  There  are  other  objects  for  the  curious.  The  Mosaics 
of  the  church  of  St.  Mark,  the  Brazen  Horses,  the  belfry  or 
Campanile,  the  arsenal,  and  the  theatres,  which  are  wretched  both 
as  it  relates  to  the  actors  and  the  audience.  The  shops  are 
exceedingly  neat  and  well-stocked,  and  the  people  gay  and  spirited. 
The  harbour  does  not  present  an  appearance  of  much  traflac.  In  the 
times  of  the  Republic,  30,000  people  are  said   to  have  slept   every 

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THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

night  in  the  vessels  in  the  bay.  Daniell's  Hotel,  at  which  we  were, 
and  to  which  I  would  recommend  every  English  traveller,  commands 
a  superb  view  of  it,  and  the  scene  (particularly  by  moonlight)  is 
delicious.  I  heard  no  music  at  Venice,  neither  voice  nor  lute  ; 
saw  no  group  of  dancers  or  maskers,  and  the  gondolas  appear  to  me 
to  resemble  hearses  more  than  pleasure-boats.  I  saw  the  Rialto, 
which  is  no  longer  an  Exchange.  The  Bridge  of  Sighs,  of  which 
Lord  Byron  speaks,  is  not  a  thoroughfare,  but  an  arch  suspended  at 
a  considerable  height  over  one  of  the  canals,  and  connecting  the 
Doge's  palace  with  the  prison. 


CHAPTER    XXIV 

We  left  Venice  with  mingled  satisfaction  and  regret.  We  had  to 
retrace  our  steps  as  far  as  Padua,  on  our  way  to  Milan.  For  four 
days'  journey,  from  Padua  to  Verona,  to  Brescia,  to  Treviglio,  to 
Milan,  the  whole  way  was  cultivated  beauty  and  smiling  vegetation. 
Not  a  rood  of  land  lay  neglected,  nor  did  there  seem  the  smallest 
interruption  to  the  bounty  of  nature  or  the  industry  of  man.  The 
constant  verdure  fatigued  the  eye,  but  soothed  reflection.  For  miles 
before  you,  behind  you,  and  on  each  side,  the  trailing  vines  hung 
over  waving  corn-fields,  or  clear  streams  meandered  through  rich 
meadow-grounds,  and  pastures.  The  olive  we  had  nearly  left 
behind  us  in  Tuscany,  and  were  not  sorry  to  part  with  its  half- 
mourning  appearance  amidst  more  luxuriant  scenes  and  various 
foliage.  The  country  is  quite  level,  and  the  roads  quite  straight  for 
nearly  four  hundred  miles  that  we  had  travelled  after  leaving 
Bologna ;  and  every  foot  or  acre  of  this  immense  plain  is  wrought 
up  to  a  pitch  of  neatness  and  productiveness,  equal  to  that  of  a 
gentleman's  kitchen-garden,  or  to  the  nursery-grounds  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  London.  A  gravel-pit  or  a  furze-bush  by  the 
roadside  is  a  relief  to  the  eye.  There  is  no  perceptible  difference 
in  approaching  the  great  towns,  though  their  mounds  of  green  earth 
and  the  mouldering  remains  of  fortifications  give  an  agreeable  and 
romantic  variety  to  the  scene ;  the  whole  of  the  intermediate  space 
is  literally,  and  without  any  kind  of  exaggeration,  one  continued  and 
delightful  garden.  Whether  this  effect  is  owing  to  the  felicity 
of  the  soil  and  climate,  or  to  the  art  of  man,  or  to  former  good 
government,  or  to  all  these  combined,  I  shall  not  here  inquire ;  but 
the  fact  is  so,  and  it  is  sufficient  to  put  an  end  to  the  idea  that  there 
is  neither  industry  nor  knowledge  of  agriculture  nor  plenty  out  of 

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England,  and  to  the  common  proverbial  cant  about  the  sloth  and 
apathy  of  the  Italians,  as  if  they  would  not  lift  the  food  to  their 
mouths,  or  gather  the  fruits  that  are  drooping  into  them.  If  the 
complaints  of  the  poverty  and  wretchedness  of  Italy  are  confined  to 
the  Campagna  of  Rome,  or  to  some  districts  of  the  Apennines, 
I  have  nothing  to  say ;  but  if  a  sweeping  conclusion  is  drawn  from 
these  to  Italy  in  general,  or  to  the  North  of  it  in  particular,  I  must 
enter  my  protest  against  it.  Such  an  inference  is  neither  philo- 
sophical, nor,  I  suspect,  patriotic.  The  English  are  too  apt  to  take 
every  opportunity,  and  to  seize  on  every  pretext  for  treating  the  rest 
of  the  world  as  wretches — a  tone  of  feeling  which  does  not  exactly 
tend  to  enhance  our  zeal  in  the  cause  either  of  liberty  or  humanity. 
If  people  are  wretches,  the  next  impression  is  that  they  deserve  to 
be  so ;  and  we  are  thus  prepared  to  lend  a  helping  hand  to  make 
them  what  we  say  they  are.  The  Northern  Italians  are  as  fine  a 
race  of  people  as  walk  the  earth  ;  and  all  that  they  want,  to  be  what 
they  once  were,  or  that  any  people  is  capable  of  becoming,  is  neither 
English  abuse  nor  English  assistance,  but  three  words  spoken  to  the 
other  powers;  '  Let  them  alone  !  '  But  England,  in  the  dread  that 
others  should  follow  her  example,  has  quite  forgotten  what  she 
herself  once  was.  Another  idea  that  the  aspect  of  this  country 
and  of  the  country-people  suggests,  is  the  fallacy  of  some  of  Mr. 
Malthus's  theories.  The  soil  is  here  cultivated  to  the  greatest 
possible  degree,  and  yet  it  seems  to  lead  to  no  extraordinary  excess 
of  population.  Plenty  and  comfort  abound ;  but  they  are  not 
accompanied  by  an  appearance  of  proportionable  want  and  misery, 
tracking  them  at  the  heels.  The  present  generation  of  farmers  and 
peasants  seem  well  of ;  the  last,  probably,  were  so :  this  circumstance, 
therefore,  does  not  appear  to  have  given  any  overweening  presump- 
tuous activity,  or  headstrong  impulse  to  the  principle  of  population, 
nor  to  have  determined  those  fortunate  possessors  of  a  land  flowing 
with  milk  and  honey,  from  an  acquaintance  with  the  good  things  of 
this  life,  to  throw  all  away  at  one  desperate  cast,  and  entail  famine, 
disease,  vice,  and  misery  on  themselves  and  their  immediate 
descendants.  It  is  not,  however,  my  intention  to  enter  into  politics 
or  statistics  :  let  me,  therefore,  escape  from  them. 

We  reached  Verona  the  second  day :  it  is  delightfully  situated. 
Mr.  Addison  has  given  a  very  beautiful  description  of  the  Giusti 
gardens  which  overlook  it  on  one  side.  They  here  shew  you  the 
tomb  of  Juliet :  it  looks  like  an  empty  cistern  in  a  common  court- 
yard :  you  look  round,  however,  and  the  carved  niches  with  the 
frescoes  on  the  walls  convince  you  that  you  are  in  the  precincts  of 
an   ancient  monastery.       The  guide  also   points  to  the  part  of  the 

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THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

wall  that  Romeo  leaped  over,  and  takes  you  to  the  spot  in  the 
garden  where  he  fell.  This  gives  an  air  of  trick  and  fiction  to  the 
whole.  The  tradition  is  a  thousand  years  old  :  it  is  kept  up  with 
a  tender  and  pious  awe :  the  interest  taken  in  the  story  of  a  passion 
faithful  to  death  shews  not  that  the  feeling  in  rare,  but  common. 
Many  Italian  women  have  read  Shakspeare's  tragedy  of  Romeo  and 
Juliet,  admire  and  criticise  it  with  great  feeling.  What  remains  of 
the  old  monastery  is  at  present  a  Foundling  Hospital.  On  returning 
from  tliis  spot,  which  is  rather  low  and  gloomy,  we  witnessed  the 
most  brilliant  sight  we  had  seen  in  Italy — the  sun  setting  in  a  flood 
of  gold  behind  the  Alps  that  overlook  the  lake  of  Garda.  The 
Adige  foamed  at  our  feet  below;  the  bank  opposite  was  of  pure 
emerald ;  the  hills  which  rose  directly  behind  it  in  the  most 
fantastic  forms  were  of  perfect  purple,  and  the  arches  of  the  bridge 
to  the  left  seemed  plunged  in  ebon  darkness  by  the  flames  of  light 
that  darted  round  them.  Verona  has  a  less  dilapidated,  pensive  air 
than  Ferrara.  Its  streets  and  squares  are  airy  and  spacious ;  but 
the  buildings  have  a  more  modern  and  embellished  look,  and  there 
is  an  appearance  of  greater  gaiety  and  fashion  among  the  inhabitants. 
The  English  sometimes  come  here  to  reside,  though  not  in  such 
crowds  as  at  Florence,  and  things  are  proportionably  less  dear. 
The  Amphitheatre  is  nearly  as  fine  and  quite  as  entire  as  that  at 
Rome  :  the  Gate  of  Galienas  terminates  one  of  the  principal  streets. 
We  met  with  nothing  remarkable  the  rest  of  the  way  to  Milan, 
except  the  same  rich,  unvaried  face  of  the  country  ;  the  distant  Alps 
hanging  like  a  thin  film  over  the  horizon,  or  approaching  nearer  in 
lofty,  solid  masses  as  we  advanced  ;  the  lake  of  Garda  embosomed  in 
them,  and  the  fine  fortress  of  Peschiera  buried  in  its  almost 
subterranean  fastnesses  like  a  mole  ;  the  romantic  town  of  Virli,  with 
a  rainbow  glittering  over  its  verdant  groves  and  hills ;  a  very  bad  inn 
at  Brescia,  and  a  very  excellent  one  at  Treviglio.  Milan  was  alive 
and  full  of  visitors,  thick  as  the  '  motes  that  people  the  sun-beam ; ' 
it  felt  the  presence  of  its  lord.  The  Emperor  of  Austria  was  there  ! 
MOan  (at  least  on  this  occasion)  was  as  gay  as  Bath  or  any  town  in 
England.  How  times  and  the  characters  of  countries  change  with 
them  !  In  other  parts  of  Italy,  as  at  Rome  and  at  Florence,  the 
business  of  the  inhabitants  seemed  to  be  to  hide  themselves,  neither 
to  see  nor  be  seen  :  here  it  was  evidently  their  object  to  do  both. 
The  streets  were  thronged  and  in  motion,  and  the  promenades  full 
of  carriages  and  of  elegantly-dressed  women,  as  on  a  festival  or  gala- 
day.  I  think  I  never  saw  so  many  well-grown,  well-made,  good- 
looking  women  as  at  Milan.  I  did  not  however  see  one  face 
strikingly  beautiful,  or  with  a  very  fine  expression.     In  this  respect 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

the  Romans  have  the  advantage  of  them.  The  North  has  a  tinge 
of  robust  barbarism  in  it.  Their  animation  was  a  little  exuberant ; 
their  look  almost  amounts  to  a  stare,  their  walk  is  a  swing,  their 
curiosity  is  not  free  from  an  air  of  defiance.  The  free  and 
unrestrained  manners  of  former  periods  of  Italy  appear  also  to  have 
been  driven  northward,  and  to  have  lingered  longer  on  the  confines. 
The  Cathedral  or  Duomo  is  a  splendid  fabric  of  white  marble :  it  is 
rich,  vast,  and  the  inside  solemn  and  full  of  a  religious  awe  :  the 
marble  is  from  a  quarry  on  the  Lago  Maggiore.  We  also  saw  the 
celebrated  theatre  of  the  Gran  Scala,  which  is  of  an  immense  size 
and  of  extreme  beauty,  but  it  was  not  full,  nor  was  the  performance 
striking.  The  manager  is  the  proprietor  of  the  Cobourg  Theatre 
(Mr.  Glossop),  and  his  wife  (formerly  our  Miss  Fearon)  the 
favourite  singer  of  the  Milanese  circles.  I  inquired  after  the  great 
pantomine  Actress,  Pallarini,  but  found  she  had  retired  from  the 
stage  on  a  fortune.  The  name  of  Vigano  was  not  known  to  my 
informant.  I  did  not  see  the  great  picture  of  the  Last  Supper  by 
Lionardo  nor  the  little  Luini,  two  miles  out  of  Milan,  which  my 
friend  Mr.  Beyle  charged  me  particularly  to  see. 

We  left  Milan,  in  a  calash  or  small  open  carriage,  to  proceed  to 
the  Isles  Borromees.  The  first  day  it  rained  violently,  and  the 
third  day  the  boy  drove  us  wrong,  pretending  to  mistake  Laveno  for 
Baveno ;  so  I  got  rid  of  him.  We  had  a  delightful  morning  at 
Como,  and  a  fine  view  of  the  lake  and  surrounding  hills,  which 
however  rise  too  precipitously  from  the  shores  to  be  a  dwelling-place 
for  any  but  hunters  and  fishermen.  Several  English  gentlemen  as  well 
as  rich  Milanese  have  villas  on  the  banks.  I  had  a  hankering  after 
Cadenobia ;  but  the  Simplon  still  lay  before  me.  We  were  utterly 
disappointed  in  the  Isles  Borromees.  Isola  Bella,  belonging  to  the 
Marquis  Borromeo,  indeed  resembles  '  a  pyramid  of  sweet-meats 
ornamented  with  green  festoons  and  flowers.'  I  had  supposed  this 
to  be  a  heavy  German  conceit,  but  it  is  a  literal  description.  The 
pictures  in  the  Palace  are  trash.  We  were  accosted  by  a  beggar  in 
an  island  which  contains  only  a  palace  and  an  inn.  We  proceeded 
to  the  inn  at  Baveno,  situated  on  the  high  road,  close  to  the  lake, 
and  enjoyed  for  some  days  the  enchanting  and  varied  scenery  along 
its  banks.  The  abrupt  rocky  precipices  that  overhang  it — the  woods 
that  wave  in  its  refreshing  breeze— the  distant  hills — the  gliding 
sails  and  level  shore  at  the  opposite  extremity — the  jagged  summits 
of  the  mountains  that  look  down  upon  Palanza  and  Feriole,  and 
the  deep  defiles  and  snowy  passes  of  the  Simplon,  every  kind  of 
sublimity  or  beauty,  changing  every  moment  with  the  shifting  light 
or  point  of  view  from  which  you  beheld  them.     We  were  tempted  to 

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THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

stop  here  for  the  summer  in  a  suite  of  apartments  (not  ill  furnished) 
that  command  a  panoramic  view  of  the  lake  hidden  by  woods  and 
vineyards  from  all  curious  eyes,  or  in  a  similar  set  of  rooms  at  Intra 
on  the  other  side  of  the  lake,  with  a  garden  and  the  conveniences  of 
a  market-town,  for  six  guineas  for  the  half  year.  Hear  this,  ye  who 
pine  in  England  on  Umited  incomes,  and  with  a  taste  for  the 
picturesque !  The  temptation  was  great,  and  may  yet  prove  too 
strong.  We  wished,  however,  to  pass  the  Simplon  first.  We 
proceeded  to  Domo  d'  Ossola  for  this  purpose,  and  the  next  day 
began  the  ascent.  I  have  already  attempted  to  describe  the  passage 
of  Mont  Cenis :  this  is  said  to  be  finer,  and  I  believe  it ;  but  it 
impressed  me  less,  I  believe  owing  to  circumstances.  The  road 
does  not  wind  its  inconceivable  breathless  way  down  the  side  of  the 
same  mountain  (like  the  circumgirations  of  an  eagle),  gallery  seeing 
gallery  sunk  beneath  it,  but  makes  longer  reaches,  and  passes  over 
from  one  side  of  the  valley  to  the  other.  The  ascent  is  nearly  by 
the  side  of  the  brook  of  the  Simplon  for  several  miles,  and  you  pass 
along  by  the  edge  of  precipices  and  by  slender  bridges  over 
mountain-torrents,  under  huge  brown  rugged  rocks,  hanging  over  the 
road  like  mighty  masses  of  ruins  or  castle  walls — some  bare,  others 
covered  with  pine-trees  to  the  top ;  some  too  steep  for  any  plant  to 
grow  on  them,  others  displaying  spots  of  verdure,  the  thatched 
cottage,  and  the  winding  path  half-way  up,  and  dallying  with  vernal 
flowers  and  the  winter's  snow  to  the  last  moment.  The  fir  generally 
clothes  them,  and  its  spiry  form  and  dark  hues  combine  well  with 
their  '  star-ypointing  pyramids,'  and  ashy  paleness.  The  eagle 
screams  over-head,  and  the  chamois  looks  startled  round.  Half-way 
up  a  little  rugged  path  (the  pathway  of  their  life)  loitered  a  young 
peasant  and  his  mistress  hand  in  hand,  with  some  older  people 
behind,  foUcrwing  to  their  peaceful  humble  home — half  hid  among 
the  cliffs  and  clouds.  We  passed  under  one  or  two  sounding  arches, 
and  over  some  lofty  bridges.  At  length  we  reached  the  village  of 
the  Simplon,  and  stopped  there  at  a  most  excellent  inn,  where  we 
had  a  supper  that  might  vie,  for  taste  and  elegance,  with  that  with 
which  Chiffinch  entertained  Peveril  of  the  Peak  and  his  companion 
at  the  little  inn,  in  the  wilds  of  Derbyshire.  The  next  day  we 
proceeded  onwards,  and  passed  the  commencement  of  the  tremendous 
glacier  of  the  Flech  Horr.  Monteroso  ascended  to  the  right, 
shrouded  in  cloud  and  mist,  at  a  height  inaccessible  even  to  the  eye. 
This  mountain  is  only  a  few  hundred  feet  lower  than  Mont-Blanc, 
yet  its  name  is  hardly  known.  So  a  difference  of  a  hair's  breadth 
in  talent  often  makes  all  the  difference  between  total  obscurity  and 
endless    renown !      We    soon   after    passed    the    barrier,   and    found 

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ourselves  involved  in  fog  and  driving  sleet  upon  the  brink  of 
precipices :  the  view  was  hidden,  the  road  dangerous.  On  our  right 
were  drifts  of  snow  left  there  by  the  avalanches.  Soon  after  the 
mist  dispersed,  or  we  had  perhaps  passed  below  it,  and  a  fine  sunny 
morning  disclosed  the  whole  amazing  scene  above,  about,  below  us. 
On  our  right  was  the  Swartzenberg,  behind  us  the  Simplon,  on  our 
left  the  Flech  Horr,  and  the  pointed  Clise-Horn — opposite  was  the 
Yung-Frow,  and  the  distant  mountains  of  the  lake  of  Geneva  rose 
between,  circled  with  wreaths  of  mist  and  sunshine  :  stately  fir-trees 
measured  the  abrupt  descent  at  our  side,  or  the  sound  of  dimly-seen 
cataracts ;  and  in  an  opening  below,  seen  through  the  steep  chasm 
under  our  feet,  lay  the  village  of  Brigg  (as  in  a  map)  still  half  a 
day's  journey  distant.  We  wound  round  the  valley  at  the  other 
extremity  of  it :  the  road  on  the  opposite  side,  which  we  could 
plainly  distinguish,  seemed  almost  on  the  level  ground,  and  when  we 
reached  it  we  found  a  still  greater  depth  below  us.  Villages,  cottages, 
flocks  of  sheep  in  the  valley  underneath,  now  came  in  sight,  and 
made  the  eye  giddy  to  look  at  them  :  huge  cedars  by  the  road-side 
were  interposed  between  us  and  the  rocks  and  mountains  opposite, 
and  threw  them  into  half-tint ;  and  the  height  above  our  heads,  and 
that  beneath  our  feet,  by  being  perceptibly  joined  together,  doubled 
the  elevation  of  the  objects.  Mountains  seem  highest  either  when 
you  are  at  their  very  summits  and  look  down  on  the  world,  or  when 
you  are  midway  up,  and  the  eye  -takes  in  the  measure  of  their  height 
at  two  distinct  stages.  I  think  the  finest  part  of  the  descent  of  the 
Simplon  is  about  four  or  five  miles  before  you  come  to  Brigg.  The 
valley  is  here  narrow,  and  affords  prodigious  contrasts  of  wood  and 
rock,  of  hill  and  vale,  of  sheltered  beauty  and  of  savage  grandeur. 
The  red  perpendicular  chasm  in  the  rock  at  the  foot  of  the  Clise- 
Horn  is  tremendous ;  the  look  back  to  the  snow-clad  Swartzenberg 
that  you  have  left  behind  is  no  less  so.  I  grant  the  Simplon  has  the 
advantage  of  Mont  Cenis  in  variety  and  beauty  and  in  sudden  and 
terrific  contrasts,  but  it  has  not  the  same  simple  expansive  grandeur, 
blending  and  growing  into  one  vast  accumulated  impression  ;  nor  is 
the  descent  of  the  same  whirling  and  giddy  character,  as  if  you  were 
hurried,  stage  after  stage,  and  from  one  yawning  depth  to  another, 
into  the  regions  of  '  Chaos  and  old  Night.'  The  Simplon  presents 
more  picturesque  points  of  view ;  Mont  Cenis  makes  a  stronger 
impression  on  the  imagination.  I  am  not  prejudiced  in  favour  of  one 
or  the  other ;  the  road  over  each  was  raised  by  the  same  master- 
hand.  After  a  jaunt  like  this  through  the  air,  it  was  requisite  to 
pause  some  time  at  the  hospitable  inn  at  Brigg  to  recover.  It  only 
remains  for  me  to  describe  the  lake  of  Geneva  and  Mont  Blanc. 
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THROUGH   FRANCE   AND   ITALY 


CHAPTER  XXV 

We  left  the  inn  at  Brigg,  after  having  stopped  there  above  a  week, 
and  proceeded  on  our  way  to  Vevey,  which  had  always  been  an 
interesting  point  in  the  horizon,  and  a  resting-place  to  the  imagina- 
tion. In  travelling,  we  visit  names  as  well  as  places ;  and  Vevey  is 
the  scene  of  the  Netu  Eloise.  In  spite  of  Mr.  Burke's  philippic 
against  this  performance,  the  contempt  of  the  Lake  School,  and  Mr. 
Moore's  late  Rhymes  on  the  Road,  I  had  still  some  overmastering 
recollections  on  that  subject,  which  I  proposed  to  indulge  at  my 
leisure  on  the  spot  which  was  supposed  to  give  them  birth,  and  which 
I  accordingly  did.  I  did  not,  on  a  re-perusal,  find  my  once  favourite 
work  quite  so  vapid,  quite  so  void  of  eloquence  or  sentiment  as  some 
critics  (it  is  true,  not  much  beholden  to  it)  would  insinuate.  The 
following  passage,  among  others,  seemed  to  me  the  perfection  of 
style : — '  Mais  vols  la  rapidite  de  cet  astre,  qui  vole  et  ne  s'arrete 
jamais  ;  le  terns  fuit,  I' occasion  echappe,  ta  beaute,  ta  beaute  mime  aura 
son  terme,  elle  doit  Jletrir  et  perir  unjour  comme  unjleur  qui  tombe  sans 
avoir  ete  cueillH'  What  a  difference  between  the  sound  of  this 
passage  and  of  Mr.  Moore's  verse  or  prose !  Nay,  there  is  more 
imagination  in  the  single  epithet  astre,  applied  as  it  is  here  to  this 
brilliant  and  fleeting  scene  of  things,  than  in  all  our  fashionable  poet's 
writings !  At  least  I  thought  so,  reading  St.  Preux's  Letter  in  the 
wood  near  Clarens,  and  stealing  occasional  glances  at  the  lake  and 
rocks  of  Meillerie.     But  I  am  anticipating. 

The  mountains  on  either  side  of  the  Valley  of  the  Simplon  present 
a  gloomy  succession  of  cliffs,  often  covered  with  snow,  and  contrasting 
by  no  means  agreeably  with  the  marshy  grounds  below,  through  which 
the  Rhone  wanders  scarce  noticed,  scarce  credited.  It  is  of  a  whitish 
muddy  colour  (from  the  snow  and  sand  mingled  with  its  course,  very 
much  as  if  had  been  poured  out  of  a  washing-tub),  and  very  different 
from  the  deep  purple  tint  it  assumes  on  oozing  out  from  the  other 
side  of  the  Lake,  after  having  drank  its  cerulean  waters.  The 
woods  near  the  lofty  peaks  of  the  Clise-Horn,  and  bordering  on 
Monteroso,  are  said  to  be  still  the  frequent  haunt  of  bears,  though  a 
price  is  set  upon  their  heads.  As  we  advanced  farther  on  beyond 
Tortomania,  the  whole  breadth  of  the  valley  was  sometimes  covered 
with  pine-forests,  which  gave  a  relief  to  the  eye,  and  afforded  scope 
to  the  imagination.  The  fault  of  mountain  scenery  in  general  is, 
that  it  is  too  barren  and  naked,  and  that  the  whole  is  exposed  in 
enormous  and  unvarying  masses  to  the  view  at  once.  The  clothing 
of  trees  is  no  less  wanted  as  an  ornament  than  partially  to  conceal 

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objects,  and  thus  present  occasional  new  points  of  view.  Without 
something  to  intercept  and  break  the  aggregate  extent  of  surface,  you 
gain  no  advantage  by  change  of  place  ;  the  same  elevation  and  ground- 
plan  of  hill  and  valley  are  still  before  you — you  might  as  well  carry  a 
map  or  landscape  in  your  hand.  In  this  part  of  our  journey,  however, 
besides  the  natural  wildness  and  grandeur  of  the  scenery,  the  road 
was  rough  and  uneven,  and  frequently  crossed  rude  bridges  over  the 
Rhone,  or  over  rivulets  pouring  into  it :  the  gloomy  recesses  of  the 
forests  might  be  the  abode  of  wild  beasts  or  of  the  lurking  robber. 
The  huge  fragments  of  rock  that  had  tumbled  from  the  overhanging 
precipices  often  made  a  turning  in  the  road  necessary,  and  for  a 
moment  interrupted  the  view  beyond ;  the  towns,  built  on  the  sides 
of  the  hills,  resembled  shattered  heaps  of  rock,  scarcely  distinguishable 
from  the  grey  peaks  and  crags  with  which  they  were  surrounded, 
giving  an  agreeable  play  to  the  fancy ;  while  the  snowy  tops  of  the 
Simplon  mountains,  now  coming  in  sight,  now  hidden  behind  the 
nearer  summits,  threw  us  back  to  the  scenes  we  had  left,  and  measured 
the  distance  we  had  traversed.  The  way  in  which  these  mighty 
landmarks  of  the  Alpine  regions  ascertain  this  point  is,  however, 
contrary  to  the  usual  one :  for  it  is  by  appearing  plainer,  the  farther 
you  retire  from  them.  They  tower  with  airy  shape  and  dazzling 
whiteness  above  the  lengthening  perspective ;  and  it  is  the  intervening 
objects  that  dwindle  in  the  comparison,  and  are  lost  sight  of  in 
succession.  In  the  midst  of  the  most  lonely  and  singular  part  of  this 
scene,  just  as  we  passed  a  loose  bridge  of  rough  fir-planks  over  a 
brawling  brook,  and  as  a  storm  seemed  to  threaten  us,  we  met  a  party 
of  English  gentlemen  in  an  open  carriage,  though  their  courteous 
looks  and  waving  salutation  almost  '  forbade  us  to  interpret  them 
such.'  Certainly  there  is  no  people  in  whom  urbanity  is  more  a 
duty  than  the  English  ;  for  there  is  no  people  that  feel  it  more. 
Travelling  confounds  our  ideas,  not  of  place  only,  but  of  time ;  and  I 
could  not  help  making  a  sudden  transition  from  the  party  we  had  by 
chance  encountered  to  the  Chevalier  Grandison  and  his  friends, 
paying  their  last  visit  to  Bologna.  Pshaw !  Why  do  I  indulge  in 
such  idle  fancies  ?  Yet  why  in  truth  should  I  not,  when  I  am  a 
thousand  miles  from  home,  and  when  every  object  one  meets  is  like 
a  dream  ?      Passe  pour  cela. 

We  reached  Sion  that  evening.  It  is  one  of  the  dirtiest  and  least 
comfortable  towns  on  the  road ;  nor  does  the  chief  inn  deserve  the 
epithet  so  applicable  to  Swiss  inns  in  general — simplex  munditiis.  It 
was  here  that  Rousseau,  in  one  of  his  early  peregrinations,  was 
recommended  by  his  landlord  to  an  iron-foundry  in  the  neighbourhood 
(the  smoke  of  which,  I  believe,  we  saw  at  a  little  distance),  where 

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THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

he  would  be  likely  to  procure  emplojrment,  mistaking  'the  pauper 
lad '  for  a  journeyman  blacksmith.  Perhaps  the  author  of  the 
Rhymes  on  the  Road  will  think  it  a  pity  he  did  not  embrace  this 
proposal,  instead  of  forging  thunderbolts  for  kingly  crowns.  Alas ! 
Mr.  Moore  would  then  never  have  had  to  write  his  '  Fables  for  the 
Holy  Alliance.'  Haunted  by  some  indistinct  recollection  of  this 
adventure,  I  asked  at  the  Inn,  *  If  Jean  Jacques  Rousseau  had  ever 
resided  in  the  town  ? '  The  waiter  himself  could  not  tell,  but  soon 
after  brought  back  for  answer,  '  That  Monsieur  Rousseau  had  never 
lived  there,  but  that  he  had  passed  through  about  fourteen  years  before 
on  his  way  to  Italy,  when  he  had  only  time  to  stop  to  take  tea  !  ' — 
Was  this  a  mere  stupid  blunder,  or  one  of  the  refractions  of  fame, 
founded  on  his  mission  as  Secretary  to  the  Venetian  Ambassador  a 
hundred  years  before  ?  There  is  a  tradition  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
Milton's  house  in  York-street,  Westminster,  that  '  one  Mr.  Milford, 
a  celebrated  poet,  formerly  lived  there !  '  We  set  forward  the  next 
morning  on  our  way  to  Martigny,  through  the  most  dreary  valley 
possible,  and  in  an  absolute  straight  line  for  twelve  or  fifteen  miles  of 
level  road,  which  was  terminated  by  the  village-spire  and  by  the  hills 
leading  to  the  Great  St.  Bernard  and  Mont-Blanc.  The  wind 
poured  down  from  these  tremendous  hills,  and  blew  with  unabated 
fiiry  in  our  faces  the  whole  way.  It  was  a  most  unpleasant  ride,  nor 
did  the  accommodations  at  the  inn  (the  Swan,  I  think)  make  us 
amends.  The  rooms  were  cold  and  empty.  It  might  be  supposed 
that  the  desolation  without  had  subdued  the  imagination  to  its  own 
hue  and  quality,  so  that  it  rejected  all  attempts  at  improvement ;  that 
the  more  niggard  Nature  had  been  to  it,  the  more  churlish  it  became 
to  itself;  and  through  habit,  neither  felt  the  want  of  comforts  nor  a 
wish  to  supply  others  with  them.  Close  to  the  bridge  stands  a  steep 
rock  with  a  castle  at  the  top  of  it  (attributed  to  the  times  of  the 
Romans).  At  a  distance  it  was  hardly  discernible  ;  and  afterwards, 
when  we  crossed  over  to  Chamouni,  we  saw  it  miles  below  us  like  a 
dove-cot,  or  a  dirt-pye  raised  by  children.  Yet  viewed  from  beneath, 
it  seemed  to  present  an  imposing  and  formidable  attitude,  and  to 
elevate  its  pigmy  front  in  a  line  with  the  stately  heights  around.  So 
Mr.  Washington  Irvine  binds  up  his  own  portrait  with  Goldsmith's  in 
the  Paris  edition  of  his  works,  and  to  many  people  seems  the  genteeler 
man !  From  the  definite  and  dwarfish,  we  turned  to  the  snow-clad 
and  cloud-capt ;  and  strolled  to  the  other  side  of  the  village,  where  the 
road  parts  to  St.  Bernard  and  Chamouni,  anxiously  gazing  at  the  steep 
pathway  on  either  side,  and  half  tempted  to  launch  into  that  billowy 
sea  of  mist  and  mountain :  but  we  reserved  this  for  a  subsequent 
period.     As  we  were  loitering  at  the  foot  of  the  dizzy  ascent,  our 

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postilion,  who  had  staid  behind  us  a  couple  of  hours  the  day  before  to 
play  at  bowls,  now  drove  on  half  an  hour  before  his  time,  and  when 
we  turned  a  corner  which  gave  us  a  view  of  our  inn,  no  cabriolet  was 
there.  He,  however,  soon  found  his  mistake,  and  turned  back  to 
meet  us.  The  only  picturesque  objects  between  this  and  Bex  are  a 
waterfall  about  two  hundred  feet  in  height,  issuing  through  the 
cavities  of  the  mountain  from  the  immense  glacier  in  the  valley  of 
Trie,  and  the  romantic  bridge  of  St.  Maurice,  the  boundary  between 
Savoy  and  the  Pays  de  Vaud.  On  the  ledge  of  a  rocky  precipice,  as 
you  approach  St.  Maurice,  stands  a  hermitage  in  full  view  of  the 
road  ;  and  possibly  the  inmate  consoles  himself  in  his  voluntary  retreat 
by  watching  the  carriages  as  they  come  in  sight,  and  fancying  that  the 
driver  is  pointing  out  his  aeriel  dwelling  to  the  inquisitive  and 
wondering  traveller !  If  a  man  could  transport  himself  to  one  of  the 
fixed  stars,  so  far  from  being  lifted  above  this  sublunary  sphere,  he 
would  still  wish  his  fellow-mortals  to  point  to  it  as  his  particular 
abode,  and  the  scene  of  his  marvellous  adventures.  We  go  into  a 
crowd  to  be  seen :  we  go  into  solitude  that  we  may  be  distinguished 
from  the  crowd,  and  talked  of.  We  travel  into  foreign  parts  to  get 
the  start  of  those  who  stay  behind  us ;  we  return  home  to  hear  what 
has  been  said  of  us  in  our  absence.  Lord  Byron  mounted  on  his 
pedestal  of  pride  on  the  shores  of  the  Adriatic,  as  Mr.  Hobhouse 
rides  in  the  car  of  popularity  through  the  streets  of  Westminster. 
The  one  object  could  be  seen  at  a  distance ;  the  other,  whose  mind  is 
more  Sancho-Panza-ish  and  pug-featured,  requires  to  be  brought 
nearer  to  the  eye  for  stage-effect !  Bex  itself  is  delicious.  It  stands 
in  a  little  nook  of  quiet,  almost  out  of  the  world,  nestling  in  rural 
beauty,  in  mountain  sublimity.  There  is  an  excellent  inn,  a  country 
church  before  it,  a  large  ash  tree,  a  circulating  library,  a  rookery, 
every  thmg  useful  and  comfortable  for  the  life  of  man.  Behind,  there 
is  a  ridge  of  dark  rocks ;  beyond  them  tall  and  bare  mountains — and 
a  higher  range  still  appears  through  rolling  clouds  and  circling  mists. 
Our  reception  at  the  inn  was  every  way  what  we  could  wish,  and  we 
were  half  disposed  to  stop  here  for  some  months.  But  something 
whispered  me  on  to  Vevey : — this  we  reached  the  next  day  in  a 
drizzling  shower  of  rain,  which  prevented  our  seeing  much  of  the 
country,  excepting  the  black  masses  of  rock  and  pine-trees  that  rose 
perpendicularly  from  the  roadside.  The  day  after  my  arrival,  I  found 
a  lodging  at  a  farm-house,  a  mile  out  of  Vevey,  so  '  lapped  in  luxury,' 
so  retired,  so  reasonable,  and  in  every  respect  convenient,  that  we 
remained  here  for  the  rest  of  the  summer,  and  felt  no  small  regret  at 
leaving  it. 

The  country  round  Vevey  is,  I  must  nevertheless  own,  the  least 

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THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

picturesque  part  of  the  borders  of  the  Lake  of  Geneva.  I  wonder 
Rousseau,  who  was  a  good  judge  and  an  admirable  describer  of 
romantic  situations,  should  have  fixed  upon  it  as  the  scene  of  the 
'  New  Eloise.'  You  have  passed  the  rocky  and  precipitous  defiles  at 
the  entrance  into  the  valley,  and  have  not  yet  come  into  the  open  and 
more  agreeable  parts  of  it.  The  immediate  vicinity  of  Vevey  is 
entirely  occupied  with  vineyards  slanting  to  the  south,  and  inclosed 
between  stone-walls  without  any  kind  of  variety  or  relief.  The  walks 
are  uneven  and  bad,  and  you  in  general  see  little  (for  the  walls  on 
each  side  of  you)  but  the  glassy  surface  of  the  Lake,  the  rocky 
barrier  of  the  Savoy  Alps  opposite  (one  of  them  crowned  all  the  year 
round  with  snow,  and  which,  though  it  is  twenty  miles  off,  seems  as 
if  you  could  touch  it  with  your  hand,  so  completely  does  size  neutralize 
the  effect  of  distance),  the  green  hills  of  an  inferior  class  over  Clarens, 
with  the  Dent  de  Jamant  sticking  out  of  them  like  an  iron  tooth,  and 
the  winding  valley  leading  northward  towards  Berne  and  Fribourg. 
Here  stands  Gelamont  (the  name  of  the  Campagna  which  we  took), 
on  a  bank  sloping  down  to  the  brook  that  passes  by  Vevey,  and  so 
entirely  embosomed  in  trees  and  '  upland  swells,'  that  it  might  be 
called,  in  poetical  phrase,  'the  peasant's  nest.'  Here  every  thing 
was  perfectly  clean  and  commodious.  The  fermier  or  vineyard- 
keeper,  with  his  family,  lived  below,  and  we  had  six  or  seven  rooms 
on  a  floor  (furnished  with  every  article  or  convenience  that  a  London 
lodging  affords)  for  thirty  Napoleons  for  four  months,  or  about 
thirty  shillings  a  week.  This  first  expense  we  found  the  greatest 
during  our  stay,  and  nearly  equal  to  all  the  rest,  that  of  a  servant 
included.  The  number  of  English  settled  here  had  made  lodgings 
dear,  and  an  English  gentleman  told  me  he  was  acquainted  with  not 
less  than  three-and-twenty  English  families  in  the  neighbourhood. 
To  give  those  who  may  feel  an  inclination  to  try  foreign  air,  an  idea 
of  the  comparative  cheapness  of  living  abroad,  I  will  mention  that 
mutton  (equal  to  the  best  Welch  mutton,  and  fed  on  the  high  grounds 
near  Moudon)  is  two  batz,  that  is,  threepence  English  per  pound ; 
and  the  beef  (which  is  also  good,  though  not  of  so  fine  a  quality)  is 
the  same.  Trout,  caught  in  the  Lake,  you  get  almost  for  nothing. 
A  couple  of  fowls  is  eighteen-pence.  The  wine  of  the  country, 
which  though  not  rich,  is  exceedingly  palatable,  is  three  pence  a 
bottle.  You  may  have  a  basket  of  grapes  in  the  season  for  one 
shilling  or  fifteen  pence.i  The  bread,  butter  and  milk  are  equally 
cheap  and  excellent.  They  have  not  the  art  here  of  adulterating 
every  thing.  You  find  the  same  things  as  in  England,  served  up  in 
the  same  plain  and  decent  manner,  but  in  greater  plenty,  and  generally 
'  The  girls  who  work  in  the  vineyards,  are  paid  three  batz  a  day. 

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NOTES   OF  A  JOURNEY 

speaking,  of  a  better  and  more  wholesome  quality,  and  at  least  twice 
as  cheap.  In  England  they  hare  few  things,  and  they  contrive  to 
spoil  those  few.  There  is  a  good  deal  of  ill-nature  and  churlishness, 
as  well  as  a  narrow  policy  in  this.  The  trading  principle  seems  to  be 
to  give  you  the  worst,  and  make  you  pay  as  dear  for  it  as  possible. 
It  is  a  vile  principle.  As  soon  as  you  land  at  Dover,  you  feel  the 
force  of  this  home  truth.  They  cheat  you  to  your  face,  and  laugh  at 
you.  I  must  say,  that  it  appears  to  me,  whatever  may  be  the  faults 
or  vices  of  other  nations,  the  English  population  is  the  only  one  to 
which  the  epithet  blackguard  is  applicable.  They  are,  in  a  word,  the 
only  people  who  make  a  merit  of  giving  others  pain,  and  triumph  in 
their  impudence  and  ill-behaviour,  as  proofs  of  a  manly  and  independent 
spirit.  Afraid  that  you  may  complain  of  the  absence  of  foreign 
luxuries,  they  are  determined  to  let  you  understand  beforehand,  they 
do  not  care  about  what  you  may  think,  and  wanting  the  art  to  please, 
resort  to  the  easier  and  surer  way  of  keeping  up  their  importance  by 
practising  every  kind  of  annoyance.  Instead  of  their  being  at  your 
mercy,  you  find  yourself  at  theirs,  subjected  to  the  sullen  airs  of  the 
masters,  and  to  the  impertinent  fatuity  of  the  waiters.  They  dissipate 
your  theory  of  English  comfort  and  hospitality  at  the  threshold. 
What  do  they  care  that  you  have  cherished  a  fond  hope  of  getting  a 
nice,  snug  little  dinner  on  your  arrival,  better  than  any  you  have  had 

in  France  ?     '  The  French  may  be  d ,'  is  the  answer  that  passes 

through  their  minds — 'the  dinner  is  good  enough,  if  it  is  English  ! ' 
Let  us  take  care,  that  by  assuming  an  insolent  local  superiority  over 
all  the  world,  we  do  not  sink  below  them  in  every  thing,  liberty  not 
excepted.  While  the  name  of  any  thing  passes  current,  we  may 
dispense  with  the  reality,  and  keep  the  start  of  the  rest  of  mankind, 
simply  by  asserting  that  we  have  it,  and  treating  all  foreigners  as  a  set 
of  poor  wretches,  who  neither  know  how,  nor  are  in  truth  fit  to  live  ! 
Against  this  post,  alas !  John  Bull  is  continually  running  his  head, 
but  as  yet  without  knocking  his  brains  out.  The  beef-steak  which 
you  order  at  Dover  with  patriotic  tender  yearnings  for  its  reputation, 
is  accordingly  filled  with  cinders — the  mutton  is  done  to  a  rag — the 
soup  not  eatable — the  porter  sour — the  bread  gritty — the  butter  rancid. 
Game,  poultry,  grapes,  wine  it  is  in  vain  to  think  of;  and  as  you  may 
be  mortified  at  the  privation,  they  punish  you  for  your  unreasonable 
dissatisfaction  by  giving  you  cause  for  it  in  the  mismanagement  of 
what  remains. 1     In  the  midst  of  this  ill  fare  you  meet  with  equally 

1  Since  my  return  I  have  put  myself  on  a  regimen  of  brown  bread,  beef,  and 
tea,  and  have  thus  defeated  the  systematic  conspiracy  carried   on   against  weak 
digestions.     To  those  accustomed  to,  and  who  can  indulge  in  foreign  luxuries,  this 
list  will  seem  far  from  satisfactory. 
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THROUGH  FRANCE  AND  ITALY 

bad  treatment.  While  you  are  trying  to  digest  a  tough  beef-steak,  a 
fellow  comes  in  and  peremptorily  demands  your  fare,  on  the  assurance 
that  you  will  get  your  baggage  from  the  clutches  of  the  Custom-house 
in  time  to  go  by  the  six  o'clock  coach ;  and  when  you  find  that  this 
is  impossible,  and  that  you  are  to  be  trundled  oflF  at  two  in  the 
morning,  or  by  the  next  day's  coach,  if  it  is  not  fuH,  and  complain  to 
that  personification  of  blind  justice,  an  English  mob,  you  hear  the  arch 
slang  reply,  '  Do  you  think  the  Gentleman  such  a  fool  as  to  part  with 
his  money  without  knowing  why  ? '  and  should  the  natural  rejoinder 
rise  to  your  lips — '  Do  you  take  me  for  a  fool,  because  I  did  not  take 
you  for  a  rogue  ? '  the  defendant  immediately  stands  at  bay  upon  the 
national  character  for  honesty  and  morality.  '  I  hope  there  are  no 
rogues  here ! '  is  echoed  through  the  dense  atmosphere  of  English 
intellect,  though  but  the  moment  before  they  had  been  laughing  in 
their  sleeves  (or  out  loud)  at  the  idea  of  a  stranger  having  been 
tricked  by  a  townsman.  Happy  country !  equally  and  stupidly 
satisfied  with  its  vulgar  vices  and  boasted  virtues ! 

'  Oh  !  for  a  lodge  in  some  vast  wilderness, 
Some  boundless  continuity  of  shade  ! ' 

Yet  to  what  purpose  utter  such  a  wish,  since  it  is  impossible  to  stay 
there,  and  the  moment  you  are  separated  from  your  fellows,  you 
think  better  of  them,  begin  to  form  chimeras  with  which  you  would 
fain  compare  the  realities,  find  them  the  same  as  ever  to  your  cost  and 
shame — 

'  And  disappointed  still,  are  still  deceived  ! ' 

I  found  little  of  this  tracasserie  at